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Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in March, and the overall economy grew for the 94th consecutive month, according to supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business. The March PMI registered 57.2 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage point from the February reading of 57.7 percent.
The New Orders Index registered 64.5 percent, a decrease of 0.6 percent from the February reading of 65.1 percent. The Production Index registered 57.6 percent, 5.3 percent lower than the February reading of 62.9 percent. The Employment Index registered 58.9 percent, an increase of 4.7 percent from the February reading of 54.2 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 49 percent, a decrease of 2.5 percent from the February reading of 51.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 70.5 percent in March, an increase of 2.5 percent from the February reading of 68 percent, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 13th consecutive month. Consistent with generally positive comments from the panel, all 18 industries reported growth in new orders for the month of March.
Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 17 reported growth in March in the following order: Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Printing & Related Support Activities; Furniture & Related Products; Textile Mills; Machinery; Primary Metals; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Wood Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Paper Products; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Fabricated Metal Products; and Petroleum & Coal Products. No industry reported contraction in March compared to February.
For more information, visit www.ism.ws.