Excerpted from March 9, 2009 post Manufacturing Index Contracts for 13th Straight Month by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER – economics writer for the Associated Press
A private measure of the nation’s manufacturing sector contracted for the 13th straight month in February, but at a slower pace than expected. The reading suggested to some economists that the decline of the ailing factory sector could be bottoming out, though they expect a recovery is still far in the future. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said Monday its manufacturing index actually rose to 35.8 from 35.6 in January. Analysts had expected a drop to 33.8, and a reading below 50 indicates the sector is shrinking.