March was another good month for U.S. manufacturing, although not as good as February.
According to the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business, economic activity in the manufacturing sector as gauged by the Purchasing Managers Index(PMI) registered 57.2% last month, down 0.5% from the February reading.
A reading above 50 signifies growth, while a reading below that indicates contraction.
Also during March, the overall economy grew for the 94th consecutive month.
A closer look
The New Orders Index dipped 0.6% last month to 64.5% and the Production Index came in at 57.6%, a drop of 5.3%. At the same time, the Employment Index jumped 4.7% to 8.9%.
Inventories of raw materials were down 2.5% to 49%, while the Prices Index rose 2.5% to 70.5%, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 13th consecutive month.
Of the 18 manufacturing industries, the following 17 reported growth in March:
- Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components;
- Printing & Related Support Activities;
- Furniture & Related Products;
- Textile Mills;
- Primary Metals;
- Miscellaneous Manufacturing;
- Wood Products;
- Nonmetallic Mineral Products;
- Plastics & Rubber Products;
- Paper Products;
- Transportation Equipment;
- Chemical Products;
- Computer & Electronic Products;
- Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products;
- Fabricated Metal Products; and
- Petroleum & Coal Products.
No industry reported contraction in March from February.