2012 Economic Calendar
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ISM Mfg Index  
Released On 4/2/2012 10:00:00 AM For Mar, 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
ISM Mfg Index - Level52.4 53.0 51.9  to 54.2 53.4 

ISM data point to steady strength for the manufacturing sector in March. The headline composite index rose one full point to 53.4, a bit above of 50 to indicate monthly growth and slightly above February to indicate an increasing rate of growth.

New orders, the most important detail in the report, softened very slightly to a still respectable 54.5 which is four tenths below February. Slowing growth in exports is a factor here with the new export order index down 5.5 points to 54.0. But other details show increasing strength including production, backlog orders and, very importantly, employment. Price data show steady but not increasing pressure on input prices.

Judging by all the data, the manufacturing sector is a steady and important source of strength for the economy. The Dow is little changed in initial reaction to the report.

Consensus Outlook
The composite index from the ISM manufacturing survey slipped in February to 52.4, above 50 to indicate monthly growth, but below January's 54.1 to indicate a slower rate of monthly growth. The new orders index slowed to 54.9 from 57.6 in January, as did backlogs, at 52.0 versus 52.5. Production also slowed, 55.3 versus 55.7, as did employment, at 53.2 versus 54.3. But February's rates are respectable and not that much different than January.

The manufacturing composite index from the Institute For Supply Management is a diffusion index calculated from five of the eleven sub-components of a monthly survey of purchasing managers at roughly 300 manufacturing firms nationwide. The survey queries purchasing managers about the general direction of production, new orders, order backlogs, their own inventories, customer inventories, employment, supplier deliveries, exports, imports, and prices. The five components of the composite index are new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories (their own, not customer inventories). The five components are equally weighted. The questions are qualitative rather than quantitative; that is, they ask about the general direction rather than the specific level of activity. Each question is adjusted into a diffusion index which is calculated by adding the percentage of positive responses to one-half of the unchanged responses.  Why Investors Care
The ISM manufacturing index (formerly known as the NAPM Survey) is constructed so that any level at 50 or above signifies growth in the manufacturing sector. A level above 43 or so, but below 50, indicates that the U.S. economy is still growing even though the manufacturing sector is contracting. Any level below 43 indicates that the economy is in recession.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/32/13/14/25/16/17/28/19/410/111/112/3
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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