Manufacturing Will Maintain Growth Trend

Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI 's Business Outlook Index is unchanged from last quarter.

Despite some softening in individual components of a composite quarterly measurement, U.S. manufacturing should maintain its growth trend in the near term, according to the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Survey on the Business Outlook. The September 2007 composite index of 65 is unchanged from that reported in the June 2007 survey.

A business index above 50 indicates that overall manufacturing activity is expected to increase over the next three to six months.

"Most of the manufacturing sector has weathered a period that saw activity slow starting in the latter part of 2006," said Donald A. Norman, Ph.D., Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Economist and survey coordinator. "The stability of the composite index and the fact that all indexes, including those that slipped a bit between June and September, remain at relatively high levels point to continued growth for most industries."

Here are some highlights from the report:

The R&D index rose to 75%, improving upon 70% of a year ago.

The capacity utilization index, based on the percentage of firms operating above 85% of capacity, rose to 41.7% in September 2007 from 37.6% in June 2007.

The profit margin index remained solid, and unchanged, at 69%.

The annual orders index, slipped from 80%to 78% compared with a year ago.

The exports orders index decreased from an all-time high of 79% in June 2007 to 75% in the September 2007 survey.

The inventory index declined to 63% in September 2007 from 70% in June 2007, continuing the easing in the run-up in inventories.

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