Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February for the ninth consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 57th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business. The report was issued by Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing business survey committee.

“The February PMI registered 53.2 percent, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from January’s reading of 51.3 percent indicating expansion in manufacturing for the ninth consecutive month,” says ISM’s Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD. “The new orders index registered 54.5 percent, an increase of 3.3 percentage points from January’s reading of 51.2 percent. The production Index registered 48.2 percent, a decrease of 6.6 percentage points compared to January’s reading of 54.8 percent. Inventories of raw materials increased by 8.5 percentage points to 52.5 percent. As in January, several comments from the panel mention adverse weather conditions as a factor impacting their businesses in February. Other comments reflect optimism in terms of demand and growth in the near term.”

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 14 are reporting growth in February, in the following order: textile mills; wood products; machinery; printing and related support activities; plastics and rubber products; nonmetallic mineral products; transportation equipment; paper products; food, beverage and tobacco products; electrical equipment, appliances and components; fabricated metal products; furniture and related products; primary metals; and chemical products. The three industries reporting contraction in February are: apparel, leather and allied products; petroleum and coal products; and miscellaneous manufacturing.

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