The U.S. manufacturing expansion accelerated in March, driven by gains in production and orders, in the latest sign that the economy is shaking off its winter doldrums and building momentum into the second quarter.
The Institute for Supply Management, a group of purchasing managers, says its manufacturing index increased to 53.7 from 53.2 in February. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.
The index had plunged in January as harsh winter weather shut down factories and disrupted supply shipments. It rebounded slightly in February, although a measure of production plummeted to a five-year low that month. The production gauge recovered all its losses in March.
“The weakness we saw in the very early part of this year is going to abate and we’ll see better growth,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc. in New York, who correctly forecast the ISM figure. “We’re making our way back to something that’s more sustainable.”
Read more at: Bloomberg