ISM Lowers Manufacturing Revenue Forecast

By John S. McClenahen Among U.S. manufacturers, purchasing and supply executives now expect their companies revenues to rise 1.9% during 2003. However, that projected figure is less than half the 5.4% rise in revenues for 2003 that they were forecasting just six months ago, reveal data released May 20 by the Tempe, Ariz.-based Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Executives report their factories are currently running at 79% of normal capacity, down from the 79.2% they were forecasting last December. "The decrease . . . is an indication that a turnaround in manufacturing has yet to begin," says ISM. It also suggests that companies have little reason to boost capital investment. Indeed, ISM manufacturing companies now expect capital expenditures in 2003 to be 3.1% below their 2002 outlays. Last December they forecast a 4.6% year-to-year increase in spending. The executives also expect manufacturing employment to decline an additional 0.5% during the rest of 2003.

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