Manufacturing improves in March
April 2, 2012
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded for the 32nd consecutive month in March, according to the latest Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Report On Business. ISM’s closely watched composite index of manufacturing activity — known as the PMI — gained 1 percentage point to 53.4%. A reading above 50% generally indicates growth.
The most important component indexes for trucking are production and new orders indexes, which are indicators of near-term freight shipments. ISM’s production Index increased 3 percentage points to 58.3%, but the new orders index dipped 0.4% to 54.5%. Despite the slip in the new orders index, freight shipments due to manufacturing remain relatively strong.
Of the 18 industries included in the survey, 15 are experiencing overall growth, said Bradley Holcomb, chair of ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. The only two industries reporting a decline in activity were computer & electronic products and chemical products. “Comments from the panel remain positive, with several respondents citing increased sales and demand for the next few months,” Holcomb said.
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