Purchasing Managers Have Improved View Of Manufacturing Sector

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.

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