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Another strong month local manufacturing

The Inland Empire’s manufacturing sector stayed red hot in July, according to data released Wednesday.

The region’s purchasing managers index was 61.1, up from 58.8 in June, the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino reported in its monthly assessment of manufacturing in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

That’s the 19th consecutive month the index was above 50, which is the survey’s line of demarcation: 50 or above means manufacturing is growing, below 50 means it’s regressing.

Such a strong, sustained performance mean the region’s economy is also performing well, the report noted.

Production and new orders both rose during July, to 66.1 and 62.5, respectively. Both of those numbers have been well above 50 for the past seven months, which means consumer purchasing should keep rising.

Inventories were also up, while the employment index registered 55.4, the 19th consecutive month that number was above 50. Employment grew at a slightly slower pace in July than it did in June, the report stated.

Forty two percent of the purchasing managers surveyed said they expect the local economy to get stronger during the next three months, up from 36 percent in June. Fifty percent said they expect it stay the same, while eight percent said they believe it will get weaker during that time, according to the report.

The index’s longest streak of 50 or above was 29 months, from December 1995 through April 1998. That streak includes two months in 1996 when the index went on hiatus, said Barbara Sirotnik, the institute’s director.

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