February ISM Manufacturing Index: Manufacturing Walks The (Fine) Line…

February ISM Manufacturing Index: Manufacturing Walks The (Fine) Line…

February ISM Manufacturing Index: Manufacturing Walks The (Fine) Line…

Regions Economic Update, March 2, 2020

The coronavirus has made the recent surge in US manufacturing short-lived. While the factory sector entered February with positive momentum after six months of contraction, the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index fell to a relatively flat 50.1 measure from January’s more robust 50.9 print. “[A]s the month wore on, the effects of the coronavirus became more and more widespread, blunting any momentum that had built up,” says Rick Moody, chief economist at Birmingham-based Regions Bank. And as the virus halted overseas demand, export numbers softened. “So, while the ISM’s headline index remained above 50.0 percent, the February data likely reflect only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the effects of the coronavirus,” Moody says.

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