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WASHINGTON, DC-US Industrial production showed clear signs of revival in July. According to the Federal Reserve, industrial production rose for the first time in nine months, while the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) in Tempe, AZ reports its manufacturing index jumped 4.1 percentage points to its highest level in a year.

The Fed says production in factories, mines and utilities rose 0.5% in July, while the level of use of industrial capacity in use rose to 68.5% from 68.1%. By contrast, industrial production suffered 0.4% downturn in June. Most importantly in regard to trucking companies and other industrial real estate users, factory output showed an even greater increase, rising 1%. The increase followed a 0.6% decline in June.

According to ISM, the PMI index of manufacturing activity climbed to 48.9% in July from 44.8% in June. This is its highest level since it hit 49.3% in August 2008. Though the current figure remains below the 50% mark that signals growth, the month-to-month increase was the largest in nine months. It has now climbed for seven straight months after reaching a low point of 32.9% in December. In addition, The New Orders Index jumped 6.1 points to 55.3%, while the Production Index, which fell to 25.5% in December, reached 57.9%, up 5.4 points from June.

Norbert J. Ore, chair of the ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, says the accelerating rate of positive change indicates manufacturers are gearing up for expansion. “The more leading components of the PMI — the New Orders and Production Indexes — rose significantly above 50%, thus setting an expectation for future growth in the sector,” he comments. “Overall, it would be difficult to convince many manufacturers that we are on the brink of recovery, but the data suggests that we will see growth in the third quarter if the trends continue.”

At the same time, notes Ore, inventories were still contracting in July, though the index of 33.5% was 2.7 points greater than in June, which she says uggests more manufacturers are looking to replenish diminished stocks.

In another area of interest to industrial landlords, ISM’s report on exports and imports showed both categories back in the growth column after a period of decline. The index of New Export Orders grew a single percentage point, breaking the 50% barrier and rising into the positive growth column at 50.5%. Imports of materials by manufacturers also broke into positive territory, growing 4 points to hit the 50 percent mark for the first time in 17 months. According to ISM, six of the 18 manufacturing industries it tracks reported growth in July, while 10 contracted.

Despite these positive signs for manufacturing, US consumer confidence fell in August for the second straight month. The monthly consumer sentiment index produced by Reuters and the University of Michigan fell to 63.2, the lowest reading since March. The index stood at 66 in July.

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