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US manufacturing sector shows contraction in February for fifth consecutive month

Economic activity in the US manufacturing sector contracted in February for the fifth consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 81st consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

The February PMI registered 49.5 percent, an increase of 1.3 percentage points from the January reading of 48.2 percent. The New Orders Index registered 51.5 percent, the same reading as in January. The Production Index registered 52.8 percent, 2.6 percentage points higher than the January reading of 50.2 percent. The Employment Index registered 48.5 percent, 2.6 percentage points above the January reading of 45.9 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 45 percent, an increase of 1.5 percentage points above the January reading of 43.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 38.5 percent, an increase of 5 percentage points above the January reading of 33.5 percent, indicating lower raw materials prices for the 16th consecutive month.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, nine are reporting growth in February in the following order: Textile Mills; Wood Products; Furniture & Related Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Chemical Products; Primary Metals; and Paper Products.

The seven industries reporting contraction in February—listed in order—are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Transportation Equipment; Plastics & Rubber Products; and Fabricated Metal Products.

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