Manufacturing Growth Slower

Economic growth in the manufacturing sector slowed in January compared with the previous month's activity, according to the National Association of Purchasing Management. For the 81st consecutive month, the overall economy continued to grow.

January manufacturing data were released Feb. 2 in the latest Manufacturing NAPM Report on Business. Among its findings: production grew at a slower pace while new orders grew at a faster rate than during the previous two months. Manufacturing employment grew slightly. Exports failed to grow for the first time in 24 months, while imports grew at a slower rate than in December. NAPM's Price Index dropped to its lowest level since July 1996. Despite these indications of slower growth, "...purchasing executives continue to comment positively about business conditions and the strength of their markets. A major concern was the stronger dollar and its impact on exports and imports," said Norbert J. Ore, chair of NAPM's Business Survey Committee.

The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) identified January growth with an index of 52.4%, down from 53.1% in December. Despite the overall slower growth, eleven of the 20 industries that comprise the manufacturing sector reported improved business in January.

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