Milwaukee manufacturing economy continues improvement, surveys say

Manufacturers in the Milwaukee area reported continuing improvement in March, according to the most recent survey by the Milwaukee chapter of the Institute for Supply Management.

The survey’s seasonally adjusted index rose three months in March to 66 – a number higher than 50 indicates an expanding economy.

New orders in the March survey fell five points from February to 68, while production rose four points to 69. Backlog is down 14 points to 50, and supplier lead times dropped two points to 26.

Inventory levels fell one point to 57. Capital equipment expenditures fell one point to 64.

Mirroring national trends, blue collar employment rose six points to 65, and while collar employment increased by two points to 61.

The Center on Wisconsin Strategy Wisconsin Job Watch report for February, issued last week, paints a similar picture – and highlighted the 4,300 new manufacturing jobs added in the state that month.

“Wisconsin’s manufacturing and construction sectors have been hit hard this recession, though the recovery has been much better for manufacturing than construction,” the report said. “Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector has posted growth in each of the last two months, adding 4,300 jobs in February. While the sector is still 56,200 jobs behind its level when the recession started, its growth is generating a significant portion of overall Wisconsin job gains.”


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