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Published on : Mar 04, 2015

The manufacturing sector in the United States of America suffered a prolongation of the consistently prevailing dip in the last month of February. A slowdown in the operation of ports on the West Coast contributed significantly to the slowdown, as did a slide in the relative strengths of overseas economies. This downward trend has been a steady pattern for the United States manufacturing sector in recent years, with the February slump unsurprisingly coming as no surprise.

The Institute for Supply Management squarely blamed labor strife in the West Coast ports for the disruptions in supply logistics that were causing the slowdown. The ISM stated the resultant disruptions had pulled the top-line purchasing managers’ index for February to 52.9. The top-line purchasing managers’ index had been up a bit in January, ending up at 53.5. Though the decrease has been steady for four months, it may be a bit early to ring the warning bells, since any figure above 50 represents expansion. So even though the trend is a consistent downward slide, the sector still remains in expansion and hasn’t dropped below parity in a long time.

This trend of decreasing growth rates also carried over to ISM indexes for production, employment, as well as new orders. The numbers for all three remained in the area signifying growth, but fell below the corresponding figures from January and December. The Western Coast post problem resulted in lower export figures for the sector, and the export figures of only 3 of the total 18 companies surveyed had increased demands from foreign markets. The weakened ability of foreign markets to increase their imports due to the strengthening of the US Dollar also had a significant role to play in this.

Top analysts are expressing genuine concern at the falling figures, despite the latter firmly remaining in the region indicating growth.