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Despite the continued economic uncertainty around the globe and the faltering manufacturing industry in China, North America’s manufacturing industry continues to show signs of improvement.

Recent Canadian and US manufacturing data for April and May show marked improvements.

Canada’s manufacturing industry witnessed an eighth-month high in May in output and new orders, according to The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, a monthly survey conducted in association with Markit, a financial information services company, and the Purchasing Management Association of Canada.

At 54.7 in May, up from 53.3 in April, the RBC PMI recorded the strongest monthly improvement since September 2011 and slightly above the historical average for the series (54.3). The RBC PMI found that both output and new orders increased further in May, with firms generally citing greater client demand. Moreover, the rates of expansion were strong and the fastest in 2012 to date. Manufacturing employment increased for the fourth consecutive month in May, while the rates of input and output price inflation both slowed from those recorded in April.

“The Canadian manufacturing sector has proven to be quite resilient over the past several months against a backdrop of market uncertainty and softening conditions in many other parts of the world. Employment gains across the sector have been particularly strong since the beginning of the year, with the overall rate of job creation rising at the fastest pace since September 2011,” says Craig Wright, senior vice president and chief economist, RBC. “Manufacturing plays an important role in the country’s economic growth and we expect Canada’s GDP to grow by 2.6 per cent in 2012.”

US manufacturing orders up 10.2% in April

April US manufacturing technology orders totaled US $410.42 million according to AMT - The Association for Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTO program, was down 17.0 per cent from March but up 2.9 per cent up when compared with the total of US $398.73 million reported for April 2011. With a year-to-date total of $1,763.77 million, 2012 is up 10.2 per cent compared with 2011.

 “Year-to-date orders of manufacturing technology are up a solid 10 per cent over 2011,” says AMT president Douglas K. Woods. “Rising factory productivity and consistently climbing employment in the industry are indicators that the manufacturing technology sector is still going strong. Things are looking brighter as we get closer to the largest manufacturing technology show in the Americas - IMTS 2012.”

The United States Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report, compiled by the trade association representing the production and distribution of manufacturing technology, provides regional and national US orders data of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. Analysis of manufacturing technology orders provides a reliable leading economic indicator as manufacturing industries invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.

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