ISM: U.S. manufacturing contracting slower


The March 2009 Manufacturing ISM Report on Business is out.  The widely-followed figure of 36.3 for the purchasing manager’s index (PMI) shows a manufacturing sector contracting quickly, albeit at a slower pace.  Last month, the PMI was 35.8 and it was 35.6 in January.  So this marks the second consecutive month of gain in the figure.

Nevertheless, with 50 as the dividing line between a contracting and expanding manufacturing sector, the data demonstrates that the U.S. manufacturing sector continues to have difficulty.

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Just yesterday, I mentioned that the PMI and the Philly Fed Survey for February both indicated that manufacturing is still contracting and that calls for an imminent rebound are premature.


  • “We remain challenged to align our capacities with demand.” (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)
  • “Most of the international markets have been reducing inventory levels and they are forecasting improvements in the next 4 to 6 months.” (Chemical Products)
  • “Many pockets of improvement.” (Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components)
  • “Still very slow. No stimulus package for manufacturing. Down 30 percent.” (Fabricated Metal Products)
  • “What we are feeling now is that customers aren’t making their final payments on equipment that has already been shipped.” (Machinery)
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March 2009 Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® – ISM

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