Thursday, April 01, 2010

ISM Manufacturing Index Shows Expansion in March

by Bill McBride on 4/01/2010 10:00:00 AM

PMI at 59.6% in March, up from 56.5% in February.

From the Institute for Supply Management: March 2010 Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in March for the eighth consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 11th 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, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management™ Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "The manufacturing sector grew for the eighth consecutive month during March. The rate of growth as indicated by the PMI is the fastest since July 2004. Both new orders and production rose above 60 percent this month, closing the first quarter with significant momentum going forward. Although the Employment Index decreased 1 percentage point to 55.1 percent from February's reading of 56.1 percent, signs for employment in the sector continue to improve as the index registered a 10 percent month-over-month improvement, indicating that manufacturers are continuing to fill vacancies. The Inventories Index provided a surprise as it indicated growth for the first time following 46 months of liquidation — perhaps signaling manufacturers' willingness to increase inventories based on expected levels of activity."
...
ISM's Employment Index registered 55.1 percent in March, which is 1 percentage point lower than the seasonally adjusted 56.1 percent reported in February. This is the fourth consecutive month of growth in manufacturing employment. An Employment Index above 49.8 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on manufacturing employment.
emphasis added
As noted, any reading above 50 shows expansion.

This suggest the expansion in the manufacturing sector increased at a faster pace in March. This was above expectations.