U.S. Manufacturing Sector Slows Down In March

After a seven-month surge, the U.S. manufacturing growth rate has finally slowed down in March, dropping to 61.2 from 61.4 in the previous month, the Institure of Supply Management said on Friday.

A new data released by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) on Friday showed that the U.S. manufacturing sector grew at a much slow pace in March this year, breaking its seven-month climb.

Based on the data, the national factory activity index dropped to 61.2 in March from 61.4 in the previous month. But despite the relatively slower growth pace, the figures still manage to beat analysts’ forecast of 61.0 for the period.

Many analysts expressed confidence that the slower growth in March is only temporary, and that recovery in the manufacturing sector will continue to push forward as demand for U.S. made goods increase.

On the other hand, some economists predicted that growth in the manufacturing sector may soon take a downward turn should the crisis in the Middle East and North Africa continues over a longer period of time.

“The situation in these places, particularly in Libya, remains volatile. With oil prices shooting upward again, there’s no doubt that the manufacturing sector will be one of the major casualties,” an analyst said.

The factory index is one of the key indicators that the economy is doing well – a reading below 50-level indicates contraction, while a reading above 50 means expansion in the sector.


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