The National Assn. of Purchasing Management (NAPM) said May 25 in its semiannual forecast that purchasing managers in the manufacturing sector expect prices to decline 0.8% this year. This compares with a forecast of a 1.4% decline in the previous semiannual report released in December last year. In the report, NAPM said that prices paid for goods had decreased an average 1.3% between December last year and May this year. Of those surveyed, 32% forecast higher prices and predicted an average increase of 3.1% in prices this year, while 44% forecasting lower prices expected an average decrease of 4.2% in prices this year. The remainder, 24%, expect no change in prices. As for employment, one third of purchasing managers expect an increase by 0.1% in the manufacturing sector the rest of the year while most expect no change. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed expect greater numbers of workers in the manufacturing sector this year, compared with 22% who predicted increased employment in the December 1998 report. In contrast, a total of 23% predicted lower employment this year, compared with 29% expecting fewer workers in the last semiannual report. The remaining 43% expect the employment situation to remain unchanged this year.