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Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in March for the tenth consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 58th consecutive month, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.
The PMI registered 53.7 percent, an increase of 0.5 percentage points from February's reading of 53.2 percent.
The New Orders Index increase in March by 0.6 percentage points to 55.1 percent.
The Employment Index registered 51.1 percent, a decrease of 1.2 percentage points compared to February's reading of 52.3 percent. March marks the ninth consecutive month of employment growth.
Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 14 are reporting growth in March in the following order: Petroleum & Coal Products; Transportation Equipment; Furniture & Related Products; Paper Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Plastics & Rubber Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Textile Mills; Computer & Electronic Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Chemical Products; and Primary Metals.
The four industries reporting contraction in March are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Wood Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.
Comments from the panel generally reflect that the economy is improving, with a strong outlook for the rest of 2014.