Manufacturing expands in March for 20th consecutive month

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Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in March for the 20th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 22nd consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business released Friday, April 1.

The recent trend of rapid growth in the manufacturing sector continued in March, as the PMI registered above 60 percent for the third consecutive month, says Norbert J. Ore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. A PMI in excess of 42.5 percent generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy.

ISM’s New Orders Index registered 63.3 percent in March, a decrease of 4.7 percentage points when compared to the 68 percent reported in February. ISM’s Production Index registered 69 percent in March, an increase of 2.7 percentage points from the February reading of 66.3 percent.

“The component indexes of the PMI remain at very positive levels and signal strong sector performance in the first quarter,” Ore says. “While manufacturers are benefiting from strength in new orders and production, there is significant concern with regard to commodity prices. Many manufacturers indicate the prices they have to pay for inputs are rising, and there is concern about the impact of higher prices on their margins.”