United States: Manufacturing activity moderates slightly in March
April 1, 2011
The ISM manufacturing index (PMI) inched down from 61.4% in February to 61.2% in March. The figure was slightly above market analysts' expectations of 61.0%. At the current level, the index suggests that manufacturing activity has been expanding uninterruptedly since August 2009, thus confirming a slow but steady recovery in the sector. A reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing sector is expanding, while a reading below 50% is indicative of a contraction. The marginal slowdown suggested by the March figure had been anticipated by the market, as the activity had reached a seven-year peak in February. Despite the moderation, the ISM result points to a strong first quarter for the industrial sector, with the index standing 4.3% higher than the level observed in the same period last year.