Skip to main content

Economic Trends for Manufacturers

Tracking Current Economic Indicators and Analyzing Data that Impacts the Industry

We continue to witness mixed signals on the economy, particularly in the manufacturing sector. One data point we regularly monitor but don’t track on the Economic Indicators dashboard is manufacturing activity according to the S&P Global Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI, which contracted for the fifth straight month, but improved from 47.3 in February to 49.3 in March.

Manufacturing production expanded for the first time since October, though by the narrowest of margins. Complementing this data point, orders for core capital goods rose 0.2% in February. Meanwhile, business and wholesale inventories – which have climbed incrementally over the last half of 2022 – both saw a small decline last month.

For the overall economy, consumer prices in general rose 0.4% in the latest data, but those for commodities less food and energy commodities stayed flat for the month. And while import prices of non-fuel products increased 0.4% in the past month, import prices for fuel decreased 4.9%. All that said, an informal survey of CEOs undertaken by the Alliance shows that just about 40% say they are in a business downturn or expect to be in one in Q2, and another 40% expect to experience a business downturn in Q3 or Q4.

View Economic Indicators