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PMI Shows Manufacturing Economy Contraction in March

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Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in March after two months of growth, reports the Institute for Supply Management in its latest Report on Business. The PMI for March was 49.1 percent, down 1 percentage point from February.

“Comments from the panel were negative regarding the near-term outlook, with sentiment clearly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and energy market volatility,” said Timothy Fiore, chairman of ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

Other indices also declined in March, with New Orders falling 7.6 percentage points to 42.2 percent, Production down 2.6 percentage points to 47.7 percent and Employment falling 3.1 percentage points to 46.9 percent.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 10 still reported growth in March, including primary metals and miscellaneous manufacturing. Fabricated metal products, transportation equipment and machinery were among the six industries reporting contraction in March.

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