Manufacturing is maintaining momentum in the face of economic uncertainty. That's the main message from the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Survey on Business Outlook - September 2011 (ER-732).
The September 2011 composite index fell only slightly, down to 67 from the 68 reported in June. The quarterly survey's composite index is a leading indicator for the manufacturing sector. This is the eighth consecutive quarter the index has been above the 50 percent threshold, the dividing line that separates contraction and expansion. While it also represents the fifth-straight decrease from the record high of 81 in June 2010, it remains consistently high. The index started as a quarterly series in 1991.
Survey results point to continued growth, but at a slower rate, says MAPI economist and survey coordinator Donald A. Norman, Ph.D. "The forward looking indexes came in at relatively high levels and, at 43.3-percent capacity, utilization is quite high," he points out. "Despite the fact that a number of indexes fell, taken together, the results of this quarter's survey contradict the view that manufacturing sector activity is sputtering."
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