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U.S. Manufacturing Activity Grows for Ninth-Consecutive Month
Mar 2, 2004
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The American manufacturing industry grew for the ninth month in a row in February, galvanizing a broad-based recovery, a survey showed.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) purchasing managers' index, based on a survey of supply executives, eased to 61.4 points in February from a 20-year record of 63.6 points in January.

It was the ninth consecutive monthly reading above 50 points, the theoretical dividing line between industry growth and contraction.

"Taking into account the fact that all 20 industries reported growth in February, combined with a manufacturing economy that has been growing for the past 9 months, it appears that the manufacturing sector has sustainable momentum at this point," said Norbert Ore, ISM survey chief. "Many respondents are particularly encouraged by the increased breadth of the recovery in manufacturing."

A breakdown of the survey showed the following:

  • Output grew, albeit at a slower rate, with the production index falling to 63.9 points in February from 71.1 in January.
  • Longed-for jobs expanded at a faster rate, with the employment index rising to 56.3 points from 52.9. (It was the fourth consecutive boost in employment, after a 37-month contraction.)
  • New orders expanded at a slower pace, with the index sliding to 66.4 points from 71.1. Growth in export orders slowed, with the index slipping to 54.9 points from 57.5. But the backlog of orders grew at a faster pace, with the index rising to 32 from 60.5.
  • Prices paid by manufacturers increased faster, with the index surging to 81.5 points from 75.5. (AFP)

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