01 April 2008 16:47 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A closely watched index of US manufacturing activity showed that the sector shank in March for the second consecutive month, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Tuesday.
The institute's purchasing managers' index (PMI) was 48.6% in March. Although it increased from February's score of 48.3, the index was still below 50.
Anything below 50 indicates contraction.
The industries reporting contraction included nonmetallic mineral products, electrical equipment, appliances and components, petroleum and coal products, wood products, paper products, fabricated metal products, chemical products and plastics and rubber products, the institute said.
The industries reporting growth included apparel, leather and allied products, printing and related support activities, miscellaneous manufacturing, primary metals, computer and electronic products, machinery, transportation equipment and food, beverage and tobacco products, the institute said.
"This completes the weakest quarterly performance for the US economy since [the second quarter] of 2003," according to a statement by Norbert Ore, chairman of the institute's manufacturing business survey committee.
"Manufacturers' order backlogs continue to erode as the new orders index failed to grow for the fourth consecutive month," Ore said.
The institute's new order index was 46.5%, down 2.6 points from February's figure of 49.1%."Additionally, manufacturers continue to experience heavy cost pressures, as the prices they pay are still rising even with slower overall demand," Ore said.
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