October continued the trend of increased manufacturing activity in the US, according to the Institute of Supply Management's just-released Manufacturing Report. The report highlighted the growing yet tepid confidence businesses have in the economy.

October registered as the fifteenth consecutive month of improving manufacturing activity as gains were seen across 14 of 18 industries polled. Nonetheless, the growth was modest for the most part, affirming economists' predictions that the US economy will continue to enjoy slow, steady growth for the foreseeable future.

Manufacturing Continues GrowthThe expansion was seen across a wide array of industries, from computer and electronic products to apparel. Industries including primary metals, machinery and electrical equipment also reported positive gains, signaling a healthy economic outlook. Businesses, however, remain cautiously optimistic, citing the unpredictable commodities markets and irregular consumer purchasing patterns as hurdles to effective supply chain management and strategic sourcing.

Still, certain industries reflect the other side of consumer habits: for example, furniture continued its decline, reflecting consumer hesitance to purchase bigger ticket items for the home. Nonmetallic mineral products, like sand and gravel, also reported a net loss. These products are often utilized in construction, a sector of the economy that is still struggling.
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