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News : US Economy Last Updated: Mar 3, 2014 - 4:38 PM

US manufacturing PMI grew in February according to two separate surveys
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Mar 3, 2014 - 4:36 PM

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US manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers' index)  grew in February according to two separate surveys published Monday.

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February for the ninth consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 57th consecutive month, say members of the Institute of Supply Management.

Bradley J. Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee commented: "The February PMI registered 53.2%, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from January's reading of 51.3% indicating expansion in manufacturing for the ninth consecutive month. The New Orders Index registered 54.5%, an increase of 3.3 percentage points from January's reading of 51.2%. The Production Index registered 48.2%, a fall of 6.6 percentage points compared to January's reading of 54.8%. Inventories of raw materials increased by 8.5 percentage points to 52.5%. As in January, several comments from the panel mention adverse weather conditions as a factor impacting their businesses in February. Other comments reflect optimism in terms of demand and growth in the near term."

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 14 reported growth in February in the following order: Textile Mills; Wood Products; Machinery; Printing & Related Support Activities; Plastics & Rubber Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Transportation Equipment; Paper Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Fabricated Metal Products; Furniture & Related Products; Primary Metals; and Chemical Products. The three industries reporting contraction in February are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Markit said that at 57.1 in February, up from 53.7 in January, the final seasonally adjusted US Manufacturing PMI signalled the strongest improvement in business conditions for 45 months. The headline index was much higher than the three-month low posted in January, and indicated a robust overall manufacturing sector performance. The earlier ‘flash’ reading for February was 56.7.

February survey data signalled a strong upturn in manufacturing business conditions, following a weather-related slowdown during the previous month. Output and new business both picked up sharply as manufacturers started to overcome disruptions due to unusually bad weather, which in turn led to a solid rate of employment growth.

However, there were still strains on supply chains, with delivery times for inputs lengthening to the greatest degree since August 2008. As a result, some manufacturers have responded to recent weather disruptions by building up safety stocks, which was highlighted by the first increase in pre-production inventory levels since June 2013.

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