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Report: Manufacturing activity ranks second in Southeast

KENNESAW, Ga.— Manufacturing activity in the southeastern United States declined by 3.1 points in August, according to the Econometric Center at Kennesaw State University’s Coles College of Business.

The Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (SPMI) — a reading of manufacturing activity in the six-state Southeast — for August was 53.2, marking four consecutive months of decline. The Southeast PMI encompasses Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, corresponding with the territory served by the Sixth Federal Reserve District.

The Southeast PMI recorded an average for the June-August period of 55.8, 6.1 points below the March-May average of 61.9, said economist Don Sabbarese, director of the Econometric Center. Also, fewer manufacturers are feeling optimistic about a recovery: 27 percent of survey respondents said they expect production to increase in the next three to six months, down from 37 percent in July.

“The manufacturing business in the Southeast is still growing, but at a slower pace than it was earlier this year,” Sabbarese said.

Highlights of the August Southeast PMI include:

• Manufacturing activity grew in only two states: Alabama and Louisiana

• Tennessee (59.3) and Mississippi (59.1) reported the highest PMIs

• Florida experienced the sharpest decrease, 7.8 points. At 40, its PMI is the lowest among the six states

• New orders declined by 5 points, to 54.7

• Production experienced a strong decline of 9.1 points, to 52.7

• Employment was down by 4.3 points, to 56.1

The Southeast PMI reading is a composite of five variables — new orders, production, employment, supply deliveries and finished inventory. A sixth variable, commodity prices, is compiled by the Coles College’s Econometric Center but does not go into the PMI calculation.

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