National manufacturing growth slows slightly in March

Survey respondents see prices increasing

manufacturing activity

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:11 am

The Institute for Supply Management’s March PMI declined slightly from its February high, but the 57.2 reading was still the second highest since November 2014.

manufacturing activity

Any reading above 50 indicates growth in the manufacturing sector. The February reading was 57.7 and the index has been in positive territory since September.

The Milwaukee-area PMI produced by Marquette University has also been trending higher, posting a 61.77 reading in March, although the two reports are not directly comparable.

The components of the national index were somewhat mixed in the March report with new orders down slightly and production falling 62.9 to 57.6. Employment, however, was up from 54.2 to 58.9 and order backlogs and new export orders were also up.

Comments from survey respondents were generally positive with many describing improving conditions and an increase in sales. There were also some comments that hinted at some challenges created by the improving environment.

“Starting to see some prices creeping up,” a food, beverage and tobacco products manufacturer said. “We are raising our sales prices as well.”

A paper products respondent said “material inflation is now clearly upon us.”

The improvement was across most industries with 17 of the 18 included reporting growth, led by electrical equipment; appliances and components; printing and related support activities; furniture and related products; and textile mills.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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