A quarterly composite index of manufacturing business indicators fell for the eighth time in a row but remains in positive territory. The June 2012 Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation Survey on the Business Outlook fell to 65 from 61 in the March 2012 survey.
"While the rate of decline was relatively slow from June 2011 through March 2012, the drop in the current quarter equals the decrease in the June 2011 survey, when it also fell by four points from its previous level," said Donald A. Norman, MAPI's chief economist and survey coordinator. "Unsurprisingly, the non-U.S. prospective shipments and non-U.S. investment indexes registered the sharpest declines, showing the effects of the Eurozone recession and the slowing growth in China."
Each of the 13 individual indexes included in the survey showed softening.
The export orders index, which compares exports in the second quarter of 2012 with the same quarter in 2011, fell to 63 from 79 in the March survey.
The backlog orders index, which compares the second quarter 2012 backlog of orders with that of one year earlier, fell to 58 from 71 in the March report.
The current orders index, based on a comparison of expected orders in the second quarter of 2012 with those in the same quarter one year ago, declined to 70 in June from 77 in the March survey.
Based on a comparison of inventory levels in the second quarter of 2012 with those in the second quarter of 2011, the inventory index increased to 73 in June from 67 in March, indicating levels are rising and products are remaining on the shelves longer.
The capacity utilization index, based on the percentage of firms operating above 85% of capacity, dropped to 35.2% in June from 40.0% in March but remains above the long-term average of 32%.
The profit margin index slipped to 68 in June from 69 in March.