Published 01-12-2020

Manufacturing stabilises in November as restrictions ease

Growth was strongest in the diverse textiles, clothing, footwear, paper & printing group

As COVID shutdowns were lifted through November, the manufacturing sector stabilised pointing to a continuing recovery heading towards the new year.

The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index declined by 4.2 points to 52.1 in November, indicating expanding conditions but at a slower rate than in October.

Growth was strongest in the diverse textiles, clothing, footwear, paper & printing group, the machinery & equipment sector as well as in the metal products and chemicals sectors.

The large food & beverages sector declined sharply in the seasonally adjusted measure as exports, supermarket sales and low demand in tourism areas took a toll.

Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said: “November saw the long-delayed resumption of growth in Victoria – its first month of manufacturing expansion since March.

“In contrast, South Australia, while continuing to grow, was held back from a more positive result by the lost production in its three-day shutdown.

“Encouragingly, both new orders and employment continued to grow in November, pointing to the prospect of a continuing recovery as we head towards the end of the year,” Mr Willox said.

Australian PMI®: Key Findings for November

  • All seven activity indices in the Australian PMI® declined from the October results, but four remained in expansion in November (see table below). Finished stocks fell into contraction (down 6.9 points to 44.3) while exports were largely stable across most manufacturing sectors (down 2.7 points to 50.0).
    Four of the six manufacturing sectors in the Australian PMI® expanded in November, but the building materials, wood, furniture & other products sector (down 11.7 points to 43.8) and the large food & beverages sector (down 20.8 points to 43.1) slid steeply into contraction – the latter’s large decline due to various factors including falling supermarket sales, low demand in tourism regions and flat export markets.
  • The input price index eased slightly in November (down 2.0 points to 64.6), indicating marginally slower price increases, while selling prices remained stable (down 4.0 points to 49.6).
  • The average wages index (up 2.9 points to 60.2) rose back above its long-run average (58.6 points), most likely on the back of manufacturing award increases implemented in November.


Seasonally adjusted Index this month Change from last month Long-run average Seasonally adjusted Index this month Change from last month Long-run average
Australian PMI® 52.1 -4.2 50.5 Food & beverages 43.1 -20.8 53.6
Production 52.5 -2.6 51.2 Machinery & Equipment 60.0 6.2 49.8
Employment 52.8 -2.5 48.8 Metals products 56.6 13.7 47.3
New Orders 53.3 -5.1 51.1 Petroleum, coal, chemicals & rubber products 57.9 -2.4 51.3
Supplier Deliveries 53.5 -5.3 50.9 Building, wood, furniture & other 43.8 -11.7 49.8
Finished Stocks 44.3 -6.9 49.5 Textiles, clothing, footwear, paper & printing 71.6 17.3 46.6
Exports 50.0 -2.7 49.9        
Sales 50.7 -5.7 49.1        
Input Prices 64.6 -2.0 67.4        
Selling Prices 49.6 -4.0 48.2        
Average Wages 60.2 2.9 58.6        
Capacity Utilisation (%) 77.8 -0.8 73.8        


The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index is a national composite index calculated from a weighted mix of the diffusion indices for production, new orders, deliveries, inventories and employment.

An Australian PMI® reading above 50 points indicates that manufacturing activity is expanding; below 50 is declining.

The distance from 50 indicates the strength of expansion or decline. Australian PMI® results are based on responses from a national sample of manufacturers that includes all states and all sub-sectors.


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