APICS Sees Caution On Inventories; Sept. Index Dips Slightly

Compiled By Deborah Austin Manufacturing activity declined slightly in September, shows the APICS Business Outlook Index, which fell to 49.3 from August's 51.5. An overall index below 50 signifies lower-than-average growth. But APICS forecasts no hard landing for the economy: Current and future components, close to 50 in September, indicate average growth in coming quarters. The index, released monthly by APICS-The Educational Society for Resource Management, provides estimates of current and future manufacturing activity. Unfilled orders rose almost 1% in September, resulting from above-average gain in new orders and a decline in shipments. Manufacturing inventory stocks rose slightly, after August's slight decline. The Desired/Actual Inventory/Sales Ratio fell sharply to 38.8 from 56.7; a ratio below 50 means inventories are higher than wanted. Firms may show caution in rebuilding inventory stocks, says APICS.

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