Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Economy Grows in March, Purchasing Managers Say

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Economy Grows in March, Purchasing Managers Say

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) - The economy picked up steam in March, led by increases in new business orders and employment, a trade group of corporate purchasing managers has reported.

The survey by the National Association of Purchasing Management said production also was up and deliveries slowed during the month, both signs that the nation's economy might be improving.

Prices increased as well, but not enough to spoil other economic gains, the group said.

The only bad news in the report was that inventories declined in March after registering no net change the month before, the association said.

``The economy ended the first quarter with a healthy, if not substantial, improvement,'' said Robert J. Bretz, chairman of the purchasing managers' group. ``The sharp rise in the growth of new orders assures a good beginning for the second quarter.''

The purchasing managers' composite index increased to 53.9 percent in March, up from 51.9 percent in February. It was the eighth consecutive month that the index registered above 50 percent.

The association says a reading above 50 percent generally indicates that the economy is expanding. Below 50 percent means the economy is in decline.

The index consists of several business indicators gathered from a monthly survey of executives in charge of buying materials and products at 250 industrial companies. The group has about 30,000 members.

In its survey, the group found:

- New orders increased sharply, with 41 percent of the group's members reporting improvement. That was the highest since April 1984, the association said. Nine percent of the members said orders were worse in March, and 50 percent said they were unchanged. In February, 33 percent said orders were running better, 16 percent said they were worse and 51 percent said they were the same. …

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