Has Manufacturing Pulled Us Out of the Recession?

Our forecast today: The government and mainstream media will soon be calling the end of the recession. Leading this feeble cause is the latest ISM manufacturing index, probably the most powerful argument for recovery we’ve seen yet:

ISM Manufacturing Index Above 50

This morning, the ISM said its gauge of manufacturing activity had risen to 52.9 in August — out of contraction for the first time since the recession began and the highest score since June 2007. Of course, things are a bit different now, but over the last 60 years, when the manufacturing sector returns to growth, the recession has already ended. That prospect is enhanced by the capacity utilization data we mentioned earlier this month — another recession-ending indicator now glowing green.

What’s more, pending home sales rose 3.2% in July, the National Association of Realtors also reported. With an index score of 97.6, that’s a 12% rise from this time last year, the highest level in two years and the sixth straight month of improving pending sales conditions.

Factor all that in with rising consumer sentiment, home price and stock indexes and we suspect now is around the time when the government will eventually declare the recession ended… which will make way for all kinds of shelved legislation and the political agendas that popularized the current administration in the first place. Then there’s that whole “double dip” dilemma… but they can worry about that another day.