The latest ISM Report on Business finds the manufacturing sector on a quickening upturn — it’s fastest since 2004. The results confirm what we are hearing in our discussions with clients. Stable energy prices and continuing high unemployment may be staving off significant inflation threats for the time being — although manufacturers did report more cases of rising prices in the March survey. We are continuing to watch that closely.
Here is the summation of the results from Norbert Ore, CPSM, C.P.M., and chair of the Institute for Supply Management™ Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
“The manufacturing sector grew for the eighth consecutive month during March. The rate of growth as indicated by the PMI is the fastest since July 2004. Both new orders and production rose above 60 percent this month, closing the first quarter with significant momentum going forward. Although the Employment Index decreased 1 percentage point to 55.1 percent from February’s reading of 56.1 percent, signs for employment in the sector continue to improve as the index registered a 10 percent month-over-month improvement, indicating that manufacturers are continuing to fill vacancies. The Inventories Index provided a surprise as it indicated growth for the first time following 46 months of liquidation — perhaps signaling manufacturers’ willingness to increase inventories based on expected levels of activity.”
Link to a comprehensive summary: http://www.ism.ws/ISMReport/MfgROB.cfm