U.S. manufacturing will continue to grow this year but at a more modest pace, according to a quarterly survey by the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation.
The survey’s composite index, a leading indicator for the manufacturing sector, slipped to 65 in March from 66 in the last quarterly survey in December. It was the seventh straight quarterly decline from a high of 81 in June 2010, but remains well above the threshold of 50 that separates expansion and contraction.
“The composite index slipped once again, but not by much,” said Donald A. Norman, MAPI senior economist and survey coordinator. “Further, most of the individual indexes increased over their December levels, providing support for the view that expansion will continue, even if at a more modest pace.”
The index, gathered from a survey of 59 senior financial executives in a range of manufacturing industries, is a weighted sum of indexes covering prospective U.S. shipments, backlog orders, inventory and profit margins.
In addition to the composite index, the survey includes six indexes gauging current business conditions and seven tracking forward-looking prospects.
Four of the six current indexes showed improvement and remain at relatively high levels. Four forward-looking indexes improved, while three declined. All remain at relatively high levels.