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Manufacturing growth slows again in March

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Manufacturing growth slows again in March

Recently-resolved labor dispute in West Coast ports, higher healthcare costs cited as challenges.

According to a widely-followed index of manufacturing activity, the growth in US manufacturing slowed again in March to its lowest rate in 22 months.

On Wednesday, the Institute of Supply Management issued the results of its monthly national manufacturing survey for March, which indicated that manufacturing growth fell 1.4 percentage points during the month, falling from 52.9% in February to 51.5%.

"Growth in US manufacturing slowed again in March to its lowest rate in 22 months."

(A reading above 50% indicates growth.)

Analysts had expected a fall to 52.5%

The New Orders Index registered 51.8%, a decrease of 0.7 percentage point from the reading of 52.5% in February. The Production Index came in at 53.8%, 0.1 percentage point above the February reading of 53.7%.

The Employment Index, meanwhile, registered 50%, 1.4 percentage points below the February reading of 51.4%, reflecting unchanged employment levels from February..

In presenting the report, Bradley J. Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said that “comments from the panel refer to continuing challenges from the West Coast port issue, lower oil prices having both positive and negative impacts depending upon the industry, residual effects of the harsh winter, higher costs of healthcare premiums, and challenges associated with the stronger dollar on international business."

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