The Institute for Supply Management's March 2015 Manufacturing ISM Report on Business once again indicates slippage. While it remains on the expansion side of the 50 benchmark (below 50 shows a contraction while above 50 signals expansion), the Purchasing Management Index (PMI) dropped from 53.5% in January to 52.9% in February and now to 51.5% for March.
The New Orders Index also fell from 52.5% in February to 51.8% in March, but the Production Index remained steady at 53.8%, ticking up from 53.7% in February. The Employment Index registered 50%, a drop of 1.4% from March's 51.4%, "reflecting unchanged employment levels from February," noted Bradley J. Holcomb, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. One could say that it also reflects additional layoffs in manufacturing that we saw during March.