Purchasing Management Survey Reverals April Dip

THE JOURNAL RECORD, May 4, 1993 | Go to article overview

Purchasing Management Survey Reverals April Dip


NEW YORK (AP) _ Hurt by a spending slowdown in the first three months of the year, the U.S. manufacturing sector shrank in April for the first time in seven months, a widely followed industrial survey showed Monday.

The National Association of Purchasing Management also said the overall economy grew in April, but at the lowest rate since September. Key sectors reported slowing growth, including business production and new orders by companies.

Economists said corporate America remains cautious about cranking up because of the slow economic recovery. Companies are especially wary about building up inventories, which can be costly.

"I think they're more alert to that risk than they have been in prior cycles because this has not been a strong recovery," said Richard Rippe, chief economist with Prudential Securities Inc. "It has been a weak recovery and there are still questions about its pace and longevity."

Such concerns were reflected in the purchasing managers' data. Inventories declined in April for the third straight month.

The group's purchasing managers' index rating the manufacturing economy fell to 49.7 percent in April from 53.4 percent in March. That was the lowest level since 48.7 percent last September.

A rating below 50 percent generally indicates the manufacturing economy is contracting. On the overall economy, a rating above 44.5 percent over a period of time generally indicates expansion.

The group said the index has averaged 54.2 percent in the first four months of 1993, better than the 52.7 percent reading for all of 1992.

The survey polls people responsible for buying supplies at a wide range of manufacturing businesses. It is regarded as a good forecast of future economic activity because the purchasers buy the raw materials that fuel the nation's factories.

The National Association of Purchasing Management, based in Tempe, Ariz., polls more than 300 executives at leading industrial companies nationwide.

Economists said the weakness in the April data was consistent with a sharp drop in the overall economy's first-quarter growth rate to 1. …

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