U.S. manufacturing index growth continues

Institute for Supply Management's Purchasing Managers Index registers 59.6 percent for March, the eighth straight month of expansion.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM, Tempe, Ariz., USA) on April 1 reported that economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in March for the eighth consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 11th consecutive month. ISM's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered 59.6 percent, following a February value of 56.5 percent. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting.

The report was issued by Norbert J. Ore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “The manufacturing sector grew for the eighth consecutive month during March. The rate of growth as indicated by the PMI is the fastest since July 2004. Both new orders and production rose above 60 percent this month, closing the first quarter with significant momentum going forward. Although the Employment Index decreased 1 percentage point to 55.1 percent from February’s reading of 56.1 percent, signs for employment in the sector continue to improve as the index registered a 10 percent month-over-month improvement, indicating that manufacturers are continuing to fill vacancies. The Inventories Index provided a surprise as it indicated growth for the first time following 46 months of liquidation — perhaps signaling manufacturers’ willingness to increase inventories based on expected levels of activity.”