Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in March for the fourth consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 46th consecutive month, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.
The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered 51.3%, a decrease of 2.9 percentage points from February’s reading of 54.2%, indicating expansion in manufacturing for the fourth consecutive month, but at a slower rate.
A reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50% indicates that it is generally contracting.
Both the New Orders and Production Indexes reflected growth in March compared to February, albeit at slower rates, registering 51.4 and 52.2%, respectively. The Employment Index registered 54.2, an increase of 1.6 percentage points compared to February’s reading of 52.6%.
The Prices Index decreased 7 percentage points to 54.5, and the list of commodities up in price reflected far fewer items than in February. In addition, the Backlog of Orders, Exports and Imports Indexes all grew in March.
Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 14 are reporting growth in March in the following order: Wood Products; Furniture & Related Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Fabricated Metal Products; Paper Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Transportation Equipment; Printing & Related Support Activities; Primary Metals and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products.
The three industries reporting contraction in March are: Petroleum & Coal Products; Chemical Products and Machinery.
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