Manufacturing Expands for First Time Since September 2022

The US manufacturing sector expanded in March for the first time since September 2022, the Institute for Supply Management reported.

Its Manufacturing PMI composite index rose to a reading of 50.3% in March, up from February’s reading of 47.8%. Readings above 50% indicate the manufacturing sector is, generally, expanding.

“Business activity is up,” according to a quote included in the ISM’s report from an executive at a wood products manufacturer. “Many manufacturers are anticipating better business in the second quarter and much better in the third quarter. They are reporting that second-quarter bookings are just starting to ramp up.”

Another executive at a transportation equipment manufacturer said they
are “expecting to see orders and production pick up for the second quarter. Suppliers are working with us to help drive costs down, which will help improve the margin for the rest of the year and deliver growth in 2025.”

The positive trend in manufacturing also matches the results of QPS’ recent 2nd quarter forecasting survey.

When asked, “What are your forecasted hiring expectations for the 2nd quarter of 2024?”, 64% of companies stated that they would at least maintain their same levels of staffing, 32% planned to increase staff, while only 4% expect to see staff reductions.

We survey our customers quarterly, so be on the lookout during the last month of every quarter for those questions, where we welcome your participation. The final survey results are shared before the start of the next quarter.

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