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February PMI Indicates Contraction for 5th Straight Month

Manufacturing contracts, economy expands, new orders holding steady.

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Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in February for the fifth consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 81st consecutive month, according to the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The report was issued by Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the Institute for Supply Management® Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "The February PMI® registered 49.5 percent, an increase of 1.3 percentage points from the January reading of 48.2 percent.

Although the overall index was down, there were some bright spots:

  • The New Orders Index registered 51.5 percent, holding steady with January’s findings.
  • The Production Index registered 52.8 percent, 2.6 percentage points higher than the January reading.
  • The Employment Index registered 48.5 percent, 2.6 percentage points above January.
  • The Prices Index registered 38.5 percent, an increase of five percentage points above the January reading of 33.5 percent, indicating lower raw materials prices for the 16th consecutive month.
  • Comments from the panel indicate a more positive view of demand than in January, as 12 of 18 industries reported an increase in new orders. They included: Textile Mills, Wood Products, Furniture & Related Products, Miscellaneous Manufacturing, Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components, Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products, Chemical Products, Primary Metals and Paper Products.
  • The report also addressed commodity prices, with steel on the increase and copper, gasoline, natural gas and oil among those on the decline in terms of price.

The full report can be accessed by clicking here.

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