U.S. manufacturing sector ekes out modest expansion in March

After posting a robust 54.2 percent in February, the U.S. manufacturing economy slowed in March to post a 51.3 percent.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM, Tempe, Ariz., USA) reported on April 1 that economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in March for the fourth consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 46th consecutive month. ISM's index registerd 51.3 percent for March. A reading of more than 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; less than 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting.

The report was issued today by Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “The PMI registered 51.3 percent, a decrease of 2.9 percentage points from February’s reading of 54.2 percent, indicating expansion in manufacturing for the fourth consecutive month, but at a slower rate. Both the New Orders and Production Indexes reflected growth in March compared to February, albeit at slower rates, registering 51.4 and 52.2 percent, respectively. The Employment Index registered 54.2, an increase of 1.6 percentage points compared to February’s reading of 52.6 percent. 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.”

Last 12 months:

  • March 2013: 51.3
  • February 2013: 54.2
  • January 2013: 53.1
  • December 2012: 50.7
  • November 2012: 49.5
  • October 2012: 51.7
  • September 2012: 51.5
  • August 2012: 49.6
  • July 2012: 49.8
  • June 2012: 49.7
  • May 2012: 53.5
  • April 2012: 54.8