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U.S. manufacturing sector continues growth, but slips slightly: ISM

Economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector grew for the ninth consecutive month in February, although a key...


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March 3, 2004 by Canadian Plastics

Economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector grew for the ninth consecutive month in February, although a key indicator of the growth still managed a slight slip.

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) saw its Purchasing Managers Index drop to 61.4 from January’s 20-year record of 63.6. The index is considered to be a key measurement of activity in the manufacturing sector.

Economists had expected the number to hold at 62, but the Index is still thought to be strong enough to promise more manufacturing jobs.

“Taking into account the fact that all 20 industries reported growth in February, combined with a manufacturing economy that has been growing for the past nine months, it appears that the manufacturing sector has sustainable momentum at this point,” ISM chairman Norbert Ore said.

New orders and production also slowed, but were still in positive territory.

The institute’s Backlog of Orders Index saw an increase in February, and its Employment Index grew for the fourth consecutive month. New export orders and imports continued to grow, with imports also accelerating during February.

Ethylene was up in price for the third consecutive month; HDPE products, lumber, metals and natural gas prices were up for the 19th month; polyethylene resin, polypropylene and propylene were up for the second month; and pulp and resin were up for the third month, the institute reports.