Today, the Institute for Supply Management released their latest Report on Business for the manufacturing sector indicating that manufacturing activity improved in March.
At 53.4 the purchasing manager’s composite index (PMI) rose 1.91% since February remaining 10.55% below the level seen a year earlier.
Respondents indicated that while there is still some slowness in orders, outlook was overall positive going forward:
"Business is robust, driven by a healthy demand for exports and relatively stable raw materials [pricing]." (Chemical Products)
"Our customers are reporting a potential 10 percent to13 percent increase in purchases for 2012. Actual orders continue to be slow to appear, but expectations continue to be high." (Machinery)
"Business conditions [are] very strong and so is outlook." (Fabricated Metal Products)
"We have been experiencing 6 percent annual growth and expect that to continue in the near term." (Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products)
"Business continues to be brisk — if not robust — [this] month and looking forward." (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)
"Business remains essentially stable, with some concerns regarding continued slowdown in China." (Computer & Electronic Products)
"Business remains strong." (Primary Metals)
"Business improved year over year for the first quarter." (Plastics & Rubber Products)
"Generally increasing sales/demand [is] driving higher capacity utilization." (Transportation Equipment
"Sales appear to be picking up over last year at this time, but still have a ways to go." (Wood Products)