Manufacturing Marches On
April 11, 2005,
Tempe, Ariz. — Still cooling off from its strong pace during the back half of 2004, manufacturing activity continued to expand during March, but at the slowest pace in six months, since last October, the nation's purchasing managers reported.
While growing at a slower pace, “The manufacturing sector maintained its strength in March, finishing the first quarter in a relatively strong position,” said Norbert Ore, chairman of the ISM's Business Survey Committee. “Growth in new orders and inventories helped offset lower index reading in production, supplier deliveries and employment,” Ore added. On a persistently problematic note, Ore noted that price inflation continues to vex American manufacturers, with the Prices Index shooting up 7.5 percentage points during March to a level of 73 from 65.5. “Price inflation continues to present a problem for manufacturers as the Prices Index gained significant momentum,” he said.
On a more bullish note, new orders ticked up 1.3 percentage points to a level of 57.1. Order backlogs grew as well, rising 5.5 percentage points, to a level of 56.
Month-over-month percentage-point change
|Source: Institute for Supply Management
|Purchasing Managers' Index||-0.5%|
|Prices Manufacturers Pay||+7.5|