The American manufacturing sector continues to recover from the Great Recession, according to both national and local reports from the Institute of Supply Management.
The ISM’s national manufacturing diffusion index rose to 59.6 percent in March, its highest reading since July 2004, from 56.5 percent in February. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion.
Seventeen of 18 industries were growing in March, the ISM said. The orders and production indexes rose above 61 percent.
"The manufacturing sector grew for the eighth consecutive month during March,” said Norbert Ore, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “Both new orders and production rose above 60 percent this month, closing the first quarter with significant momentum going forward. 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,” Ore said.
Numbers from the Milwaukee chapter of the ISM echo the national trend.
For March, the Milwaukee chapter’s index for new orders was 63, holding the same number from February. The production index rose to 66, a four-point increase from the month before, while backlog rose to 60, also a four point increase.
Blue collar employment rose to an index of 60, a two point increase from February, while white collar employment fell to 46, an eight point fall from February.