Dairy Plant. Conveyor with milk bottles. Line.

The overall economy and manufacturing sector posted growth again in February, according to the ISM’s latest report. The food, beverage, and tobacco industry was one of the 15 reporting growth. The leaders surveyed also noted that employment continued to be a challenge.

The PMI hit 60.8% last month, a 1.7% gain over January and the highest it’s been in the last 12 months. This marks the 106th consecutive month of growth for the economy and the 18th month for manufacturing.

Here’s what the food, beverage, and tobacco industry reported for February:

  • Growth in new orders
  • Growth in production
  • Growth in employment
  • Faster supplier deliveries
  • Higher inventories
  • Customer inventories too low
  • Increased prices for raw materials
  • Decrease in order backlogs
  • Growth in new export orders
  • Growth in imports

The ISM also found that lead times decreased for capital expenditures (to 145 days) and maintenance, repair, and operating supplies (to 33 days), but increased for production materials (to 64 days).

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