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IE manufacturing back in growth mode

The Inland Empire’s manufacturing sector is growing again.

Not by much, but it’s growing.

The region’s purchasing managers index in March was 50.8, down from 52.1 the month before, according to the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino.

A decline is never good news, but this decline has a silver lining. The index stayed above 50 for the third consecutive month, which means manufacturing in Riverside and San Bernardino counties is expanding, not contracting.

“We can definitively state that the Inland Empire manufacturing sector, and the overall Inland Empire economy, is growing,” said Barbara Siriotnik, institute director, in a statement.

Two of the index’s major components – production and new orders – declined in March but stayed above 50: production went from 56.3 in February to 52.1 last month, while new orders went from 54.2 to 50.

Employment was 50, up from 45.8. The region’s inventory index was also 50, but that was a decline from 54.2 in February.

Twelve point five percent of purchasing managers interviewed said they expect the local economy to improve during the next three months, while 50 percent said they expect it to be static and 37.5 percent said expect it to get weaker during that time, according to the index.

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