KENNESAW, Ga. — Manufacturing activity in the Southeast increased for March, registering its highest reading since 2012, according to the Southeast’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) report released by Kennesaw State University’s Econometric Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business.
The Southeast PMI increased 5.5 points to 61.5, while the National PMI increased 0.5 points to 53.7.
Six Southeastern states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee — are included in the Econometric Center’s monthly regional report. Five states — Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee — recorded higher PMIs. Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee recorded higher employment, which contributed 6.7 points to the PMI increase.
The March Southeast PMI increase moved the PMI to its highest reading since April 2012. New orders and production increases of 11.2 and 10.4 points, respectively, were up 21.2 and 17.5 points from January, according to Don Sabbarese, director of the Econometric Center at Kennesaw State.
“It’s not clear as to what degree this rise in new orders is due to a weather-related backlog of orders and therefore sustainable in the coming months,” Sabbarese said. “That said, it suggests that even if the PMI components slip in the near future, they should remain at a good level of growth.”
Highlights of the March Southeast PMI include:
- New orders increased 11.2 points to 70.2, based on increases for Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi
- Production increased 10.4 points to 65.4, based on increases for Alabama, Florida and Georgia
- Employment increased 6.7 points to 58.7, based on increases for Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi
- Supplier delivery decreased 0.3 points to 56.7, based on decreases for Alabama, Florida and Georgia
- Finished inventory decreased 0.3 points to 56.7, based on decreases for Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee
- Commodity prices decreased 3.2 points to 54.8, based on decreases for Alabama, Florida and Tennessee
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.