Posted April 1, 2020

Manufacturing contracted in March

The manufacturing sector contracted in March according to the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

“The March PMI registered 49.1 percent, down 1 percentage point from the February reading of 50.1 percent. The New Orders Index registered 42.2 percent, a decrease of 7.6 percentage points from the February reading of 49.8 percent," said Timothy R. Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

"Comments from the panel were negative regarding the near-term outlook, with sentiment clearly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and energy market volatility. The PMI returned to contraction territory, and with a negative trajectory," he said.

He said the coronavirus pandemic and shocks in global energy markets have impacted all manufacturing sectors. Among the six big industry sectors, Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products remains strongest, followed by Chemical Products, which in addition to the pharmaceutical component, is a significant contributor to the Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products Industry and beneficiary of low energy and feedstock prices. Transportation Equipment and Petroleum & Coal Products are the weakest sectors. Sentiment regarding near-term growth this month is strongly negative, by a 2-to-1 ratio.