In September, the ISM for the manufacturing sector rebounded unexpectedly, rising to the highest level in three months. The headline index rose from 50.6 to 51.6, while the consensus was looking for a slight decline. The breakdown shows that production (51.2 from 48.6), employment (53.8 from 51.8), new export orders (53.5 from 50.5), customer inventories (49.0 from 46.5) and supplier deliveries (51.4 from 50.6) improved somewhat. Backlog of orders (41.5 from 46.0), imports (54.5 from 55.5) and inventories (52.0 from 52.3) deteriorated in September, while new orders stayed unchanged at 49.6, slightly in contraction territory. Upward price pressures picked up again, as the prices paid index rose from 55.5 to 56;0, but still sharply off the highs reached in the first half of the year (at 85.5). The improvement in the headline figure is encouraging, but the details are somewhat more mixed, reflecting the uncertain economic outlook.