ISM: Manufacturing growth slows in March

April 1, 2013


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Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in March but at a slower pace than in February, according to the Institute of Supply Management’s closely watched manufacturing index. The PMI dropped 2.9 points to 51.3%. The threshold between expansion and contraction is 50%.

Two PMI components of particular interest to trucking — the production and new orders indexes — also fell sharply but remained above 50%. The production index dropped 5.4% to 52.2%, and the new orders index fell 6.4 points to 51.4%. These indicators suggest that trucking companies generally can expect some increase in manufacturing-related freight in the near term but the increase in loads will be slower. In potentially good news for the slightly longer term, the inventories index contracted slightly, declining 2 points to 49.5%.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, only three reported contraction in March: Petroleum and coal products, chemical products and machinery.

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