Plastics Technology

JUL 2018

Plastics Technology - Dedicated to improving Plastics Processing.

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Michael Guckes is the chief econo- mist for Gardner Intelligence, a division of Gardner Business Media, Cincinnati. He has performed economic analysis, modeling, and forecasting work for nearly 20 years among a wide range of industries. He received his BA in political science and economics from Kenyon College and his MBA from Ohio State University. Contact: (513) 527-8800; Learn more about the Plastics Processing Index at STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE WITH GARDNER INTELLIGENCE Visit the blog at: or email The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Plastics Processing came in at 57.1 for May, lower than April's 58.1 reading. For the first five months of 2018, the Plastics Processing Index averaged 57.3, representing the fastest five-month period of growth in the Index's history. The index is calculated based on monthly surveys sent to subscribers of Plastics Technology magazine. The latest reading is up 2.3% from the same month a year ago. However, the reading from May 2017 was the highest reading in all of 2017. The latest result was driven higher by supplier deliveries, production, and new orders. Employment, backlog, and exports all pulled the index lower. All components of the index experienced growth during the month. May's rising sub-indexes for employment and supplier deliveries and slower growth for new orders and production indicate that the current business cycle, which was initiated by a surge in new orders growth in early 2017, is showing signs of initial maturing. When the rate of new orders initially increases, manufacturers can make limited but immediate changes to increase production. However, to sustain increased production levels, or achieve significantly higher production, manufacturers typi- cally must alter their supply chains and increase hiring, which often happens months after the initial new orders surge. The latest survey results for employment and expected capital spending indicate that the industry is making longer-term investments to increase production capacity. The May index for only custom processors, while robust at 59.9, fell from the prior month's all-time high reading of 62.4. May's Index comes in at 57.1 amid indications that processors are making longer-term investments to increase production capacity . Fifth Straight Month of Growth for Processing The Plastics Processing Index has registered several exceptionally high readings in 2018, with an average level of 57.3. No other five-month period in the index's history has experienced such positive conditions. Consecutive months of strong growth in new orders has resulted in unprecedented backlog growth. As companies make significant long-term investments to increase production output, we can expect to see backlogs decrease while employment and supplier deliveries increase. FIG 1 FIG 2 By Michael Guckes Chief Economist 40 50 60 59.9 57.1 1/14 7/14 1/15 7/15 1/16 7/16 1/17 7/17 1/18 7/18 Plastics Processing Custom Processors 30 40 50 60 70 1/14 7/14 1/15 7/15 1/16 7/16 1/17 7/17 1/18 7/18 Backlog New Orders Gardner Business Index: Plastics Processing Gardner Business Index: Plastics Processing—New Orders & Backlog (3 MMA) 56 JULY 2018 Plastics Technology YO U R B U S I N E S S G A RDNER BUSINE S S INDE X : PL A S T IC S PRO CE S SING

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