Switzerland: Strong employment gains send manufacturing PMI marginally higher in February
March 1, 2018
In February, the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) produced by Credit Suisse and procure.ch was broadly stable from a month earlier, inching up 0.2 points to 65.5 points from January’s 65.3 points. With February’s uptick, the index came within striking distance of December’s seven-year high and beat analysts’ expectations of a decline to 64.0 points. February’s reading landed well above the critical 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction in manufacturing output—exceeding the series’ long-term average for another month and signaling the ongoing strength of the manufacturing-driven recovery.
February’s elevated reading was the result of strong output and well-filled order books. Notably, strong employment gains in the month allowed firms to reduce their backlogs of orders. Moreover, stocks of finished goods were stable despite large purchased quantities, likely reflecting firms’ desire to insure against the further increase of input costs—purchase prices closed in on a record high in February. All told, the manufacturing sector appeared to be growing at levels only previously seen during boom years.
Author: Christopher Thomas, Economist