The manufacturing sector contracted again in February, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business from the Institute for Supply Management.
ISM reported: "Manufacturing continues to decline at a rapid rate ... While production has slowed its rate of decline, employment continues to fall precipitously. Prices continue to decline, but price advantages are not sufficient to overcome manufacturers' apparent loss of demand. Survey respondents appear generally pessimistic about recovery in 2009. Some express hope that the stimulus package will help their industry."
None of the 18 manufacturing industries in the survey reported growth.
A transportation equipment manufacturer said that customers are being cautious about ordering stock. A machinery manufacturer said that he has seen a drop in business from Asia: "Asia previously was over 50 percent of our business and is now close to zero."
A paper product manufacturer said in the survey that business actually slightly improved in February. "May be the result of inventories finally coming into balance with lower demand," the manufacturer said.