ISM Manufacturing PMI Expands for 7th Month

Written by Sandy Williams

Manufacturing activity in the U.S. continued to grow in March according to the Manufacturing ISM Report on Business. The composite headline PMI registered 57.2 compared to 57.7 in February for its seventh consecutive month of growth. Index readings for New Orders and Production were strong at 64.5 and 56.6, respectively, but slowed from February readings of 65.1 and 62.9.

The employment index gained 4.7 percentage points to read 58.9 percent.

Inventories of raw materials fell 2.5 points to 49 percent. Primary metals were among the industries who reported higher inventories, while fabricated metal products, transportation, and machinery reported lower inventories in March. The prices index increased 2.5 points for a reading of 70.5 percent in March, indicating higher raw material prices for the thirteenth consecutive month and the highest reading since May 2011.

Supplier delivery times slowed for most industries in March. Order backlogs increased by 0.5 percent to an index reading of 57.5.

Export orders expanded 4 points to 59 percent and the highest index reading since November 2013. The import index continued in expansion territory for a second month registering 53.5, a 0.5 percent decline from February.

Survey respondent comments included:

  • “Regional business is strong. Hiring qualified team members has improved.” (Fabricated Metal Products)
  • “We had a lot of storm orders, so it really pushed our sales up this month.” (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)
  • “Business up 10-15 percent.” (Machinery)
  • “Industry outlook is looking relatively flat currently, and the view for calendar year 2017 looks to be flat as well. Job market has been very good in the region, and finding talent has been challenging.” (Transportation Equipment)
  • “Business conditions continue to improve.” (Chemical Products)

Below is a graph showing the history of the ISM Index. You will need to view the graph on our website to use its interactive features, you can do so by clicking here. If you need assistance logging into or navigating the website, please contact our office at 800-432-3475 or

Latest in Economy