Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI report shows weakening manufacturing

Good news hard to find in quarterly report
By Plant Engineering Staff April 17, 2008

They tried to find some good news in the quarterly Manufacturing Alliance/MAPI report of manufacturing, but there wasn’t a lot to find.

The composite index dropped almost 13% in March, from 64 to 57, matching the double-digit losses found in many of the sectors that make up the report. While any score above 50 indicates an increase in the next two quarters, the drop put the index at its lowest level since December 2006.

The U.S. investment index, which asks about capital investments, dropped from 74% to 62% in March, while the order backlog index fell from 67% to 55%. The shipments index also dropped by 12 percentage points, from 74% in December to 62% in March.

The quarterly orders index, which compared new orders for the first quarter of 2008 with the same quarter one year ago, fell to 58% from 69% in 2007, and the inventory index fell to its lowest level since March 2004, dropping to 54%. MAPI analysts said the drop in inventory indicates manufacturers are “reining in inventory growth.”

More details of the study can be found at www.mapi.net