Implications: The ISM manufacturing index boomed in September, hitting the highest level since 2004 as the factory sector showed strength across all major measures. And growth continues to remain broad-based across industries, with seventeen of eighteen reporting growth, while just one (furniture & related products) reported decline. The two most forward looking indices - new orders and production – both continue to shine with readings above 60. While some boost in orders is attributable to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the primary impact of the storms can be seen in the pricing data. The price index surged to a reading of 71.5 in September, the highest in more than six years, as multiple survey respondents noted the hurricanes' impact on the price of inputs. Supply chains have been disrupted as well, pushing the supplier deliveries index higher to 64.4 in September from 57.1. Some will downplay the strong data in September due to the storm effects, but we think that is a mistake. The manufacturing sector has been showing strength throughout 2017. With the third quarter now in the books, the ISM manufacturing survey has averaged the highest year-to-date level since 2010. And we expect growth to continue, with a further pickup in trend growth possible if Washington follows through on tax and regulatory reform. On the jobs front, the employment index increased to 60.3 in September from 59.9. However, storm impacts are likely to have significantly slowed job growth in September. Our forecast may change as we get ADP and initial claims data later this week, but we are currently forecasting non-farm job gains of 69,000 in September, compared to 156,000 added in August. This is a temporary dip in job growth due to the storms, and we should get a sharp rebound over the coming months as those displaced return to work and the workforce as a whole continues to expand Construction data, also released this morning, showed spending rose 0.5% in August. A pickup in homebuilding and education facilities more than offset a decline in spending on manufacturing projects.
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