Finishing Index Changed Little in July
Production and employment activity report quickening contraction in July.
The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Finishing closed less than 1 point higher in July, with the Index ending the month at 45.3. Increasing readings which are below a level of 50 indicate slowing contraction within an industry. This is important because it signals that a shrinking proportion of survey respondents are reporting worsening conditions while a growing proportion experienced either no change or an improvement in business activity during the month.
For July, finishers reported a slowing of supplier deliveries compared to the prior month. This contrasts with recent months’ readings for supplier deliveries, which had pointed to a gradual improvement in supply chain conditions. While it cannot be verified by Gardner’s survey data alone, July’s worsening disruption to the finishing supply chain may in part explain why production and employment activity readings fell for the month despite a mildly improved reading for new orders.
By size, large U.S. finishers with over 100 employees have reported since May that conditions are stabilizing more quickly as compared to their smaller peers. An index consisting of only large firms would have increased by over 21 points while a similar index of only firms under 50 employees in size would have rebounded by slightly less than 12 points.
The Finishing Index is unique in its ability to measure business conditions specific to the finishing industry on a monthly basis. The challenges facing finishers today require leaders to have good data in order to make effective forward-looking decisions. It is thus particularly important at this time for our readers to complete the Index survey sent to them each month. Your participation will enable the best and most accurate reporting of the true impact that COVID-19 is having on the finishing industry along with the industry’s eventual recovery.
The Finishing Index incrementally improved during July but was hindered by worsening production and employment activity levels.
July’s Slowing Supplier Deliveries May Have Undermined Production and Employment
After seeing improving supplier deliveries readings in recent months, deliveries worsened in July. This may in part explain why production and employment activity worsened during the month.