ISM: US Manufacturing Expands for Fourth Straight Month, but Growth Cools
Author(s): Josh Cable
Apr. 01, 2013
The Institute for Supply Management's latest report on U.S. manufacturing points to slower growth in March, although the sector expanded for the fourth straight month.
The institute's purchasing managers index – a closely watched measure of overall manufacturing growth – dropped from 54.2 percent in February to 51.3 percent in March, according to the ISM.
A reading above 50 percent indicates expansion, while a number below 50 percent indicates contraction.
While the ISM's monthly survey of supply executives contained many positives, Wall Street and national media outlets seemed to focus on the survey's indications that manufacturing growth is slowing.
Growth in new orders and production dropped by 6.4 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, in March.
Even so, manufacturers continued to beef up their employment ranks, as the hiring index grew from a reading of 52.6 in February to 54.2 in March. March marked the 42nd consecutive month of employment growth in the manufacturing sector, according to the report.
The ISM survey also indicated that the overall U.S. economy expanded in March for the 46th consecutive month.