Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February for the 26th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 69th consecutive month, according to the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business issued March 2 by the Institute for Supply Management.
The report is based on data compiled from purchasing and supply executives nationwide, including new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, inventories, prices, backlog of orders, exports and imports.
The February PMI (Purchasing Manager’s Index) registered 52.9 percent, a decrease of 0.6 percentage point from January’s reading of 53.5 percent.
The New Orders Index registered 52.5 percent, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point from the reading of 52.9 percent in January.
The Production Index registered 53.7 percent, 2.8 percentage points below the January reading of 56.5 percent.
The Employment Index registered 51.4 percent, 2.7 percentage points below the January reading of 54.1 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 52.5 percent, an increase of 1.5 percentage points above the January reading of 51 percent.
The Prices Index registered 35 percent, the same percentage as in January, indicating lower raw materials prices for the fourth consecutive month.
Comments from the panel of the nation’s supply executives surveyed express a growing level of concern over the West Coast dock slowdown negatively impacting exports and imports and requiring workarounds and added costs.
Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 12 are reporting growth in February in the following order: Paper Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Furniture & Related Products; Primary Metals; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Chemical Products.
The three industries reporting contraction in February are: Textile Mills; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; and Computer & Electronic Products.
The next Manufacturing ISM Report On Business will be issued on April 1, 2015.