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March Manufacturing ISM Report: New Orders, Production, Employment Grow

Press release from the issuing company

(Tempe, Arizona) — Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in March for the 10th consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 29th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. The report was issued today by Norbert J. Ore, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee and group director, strategic sourcing and procurement, Georgia-Pacific Corporation. "The manufacturing sector had another good month in March as the PMI has now been above the 60 percent mark for five consecutive months. Both New Orders and Production remain strong and have significant momentum going into the second quarter." ISM's Backlog of Orders Index indicates that order backlogs increased in March, and the Employment Index grew for the fifth consecutive month. ISM's Prices Index indicates that manufacturers once again experienced higher prices in their purchases, and at the highest rate since January 1995. The New Export Orders and Import Indexes continue to grow, with New Export Orders accelerating significantly during the month. Comments from purchasing and supply managers are focused on higher energy and material costs, the availability of certain metals and the weaker dollar. As leadtimes extend, their concerns are shifting from cost issues to availability. ISM's PMI registered 62.5 percent in March, an increase of 1.1 percentage points when compared to 61.4 percent in February. ISM's New Orders Index declined 0.7 percentage point from 66.4 percent in February to 65.7 percent in March. ISM's Production Index increased 1.6 percentage points from 63.9 percent in February to 65.5 percent in March. The ISM Employment Index is at 57 percent for March, an increase of 0.7 percentage point when compared to the 56.3 percent reported in February. ISM's Supplier Deliveries Index registered 67.9 percent, 5.8 percentage points higher than February's 62.1 percent. ISM's Inventories Index registered 48.3 percent in March, down from the 49.4 percent reported in February. ISM's Customers' Inventories Index for March is at 39.5 percent, an increase of 1 percentage point compared to the February reading of 38.5 percent. ISM's Prices Index in March is 86 percent, 4.5 percentage points higher than the 81.5 percent reported in February. ISM's Backlog of Orders Index increased 1.5 percentage points, registering 63.5 percent in March compared to 62 percent in February. ISM's New Export Orders Index registered 62 percent, an increase of 7.1 percentage points from February's 54.9 percent. ISM's Imports Index decreased 3.4 percentage points to 56.8 percent in March, down from 60.2 percent in February. "The first quarter was very strong for the manufacturing sector and the economy overall. Our survey respondents generally indicate that business is quite strong," said Ore.