ISM’s Production Index registered 53.8 percent in March,
which is an increase of 0.1 percentage point when compared
to the 53.7 percent reported in February, indicating growth in
production for the 31st consecutive month. An index above
51.1 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase
in the Federal Reserve Board’s Industrial Production figures.
ISM’s Backlog of Orders Index registered 49.5 percent in
March, which is 2 percentage points lower than the 51.5
percent reported in February, indicating contraction in order
backlogs following one month of expansion in order backlogs.
Of the 84 percent of respondents who
reported their backlog of orders, 18 percent reported greater backlogs, 19 percent
reported smaller backlogs, and 63 percent
reported no change from February.
The Inventories Index registered 51.5
percent in March, which is 1 percentage point lower than the 52.5 percent
registered in February, indicating raw
materials inventories are growing for the
third consecutive month. An Inventories
Index greater than 42. 9 percent, over
time, is generally consistent with expansion in the Bureau of Economic Analysis
(BEA) figures on overall manufacturing
inventories (in chained 2000 dollars).
Exports, Imports and Prices
ISM’s New Export Orders Index registered 47.5 percent in March, which is 1
percentage point lower than the 48.5
percent reported in February. March’s
reading reflects the third consecutive
month of contraction in the level of exports, following 25 consecutive months
of growth in new export orders.
ISM’s Imports Index registered 52.5
percent in March, which is 1.5 percentage
points lower than the 54 percent reported in
February. This month’s reading represents 26
consecutive months of growth in imports.
The ISM Prices Index registered 39 percent in March, an increase of 4 percentage points when compared to February’s
35 percent, indicating a decrease in raw
materials prices for the fifth consecutive
month. In March, 10 percent of respondents reported paying higher prices, 32
percent reported paying lower prices,
and 58 percent of supply executives
reported paying the same prices as in
ISM’s Employment Index registered 50 percent in March,
which indicates that there was no change in manufacturing employment relative to February, and follows 21
consecutive months of growth in employment. An Employment Index above 50.6 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the an increase in the BLS data.
For more information on the Institute for Supply Management, visit www.ism.ws.