PhotoMore contraction in the manufacturing sector of the economy in February.

The latest Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing report on business put the February purchasing managers index (PMI) at 49.5%, an increase of 1.3% from January.

A reading below 50 means contraction in the sector, making February the fifth consecutive month that manufacturing has failed to expand. The overall economy meanwhile has grown for 81 straight months.

Inside the number

The ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee also reports the New Orders Index was unchanged last month at 51.5%, the Production Index rose 2.6%, as did the Employment Index.

Inventories of raw materials posted a gain of 1.5% and the Prices Index registered was up 5%, indicating lower raw materials prices for the 16th consecutive month.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, nine reported growth in February in the following order:

  1. Textile Mills;
  2. Wood Products;
  3. Furniture & Related Products;
  4. Miscellaneous Manufacturing;
  5. Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components;
  6. Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products;
  7. Chemical Products;
  8. Primary Metals; and
  9. Paper Products.

The seven industries reporting contraction in February -- in order -- are:

  1. Apparel, Leather & Allied Products;
  2. Petroleum & Coal Products;
  3. Computer & Electronic Products;
  4. Printing & Related Support Activities;
  5. Transportation Equipment;
  6. Plastics & Rubber Products; and
  7. Fabricated Metal Products.

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