ISM Manufacturing Index Hits a Near Six Year High
April 1, 2010 - Growing for the eighth straight month, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing index rose to 59.6 in March. Up from February's reading of 56.5, the ISM exceeded expectations of most economists.
The ISM, which is a valuable gauge of the economy's health and trends, saw growth in 17 of the 18 manufacturing industries.
Driven upward by new orders and production, the ISM hit its highest point since July 2004. Readings over 50 indicate manufacturing growth; the numbers directly correlate with how quickly the sector grew.
Overall, the new orders sector increased to 61.5 from the 59.5 in February, while inventories continued to inch up to 55.3. March's inventories results marked the first time in 46 months that the sector rose above the breakeven point of 50.