Daily News: March 2, 2012

ISM: February Manufacturing Activity Expands

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February for the 31st consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 33rd consecutive month, according to the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

The Purchasing Mangers Index (PMI) registered 52.4%, a decrease of 1.7 percentage points from January’s reading of 54.1%, indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 31st consecutive month, said Bradley J. Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

A reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50% indicates that it is generally contracting.

The New Orders Index registered 54.9%, a decrease of 2.7 percentage points from January’s reading of 57.6%, reflecting the 34th consecutive month of growth in new orders. Prices of raw materials increased for the second consecutive month, with the Prices Index registering 61.5%.

As was the case in January, new orders, production and employment all grew in February – although at somewhat slower rates than in January. Comments from the panel continue to reflect a generally positive outlook for the next few months.”

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 11 are reporting growth in February, in the following order: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Machinery; Primary Metals; Transportation Equipment; Petroleum & Coal Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Paper Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; and Chemical Products.

The four industries reporting contraction in February are: Furniture & Related Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components.

To read the full report, click here.