Inland Empire manufacturing continued to expand in August, maintaining a trend that began nearly two years ago, according to data released thursday.
The two-county region’s purchasing managers index last month was 54.5, down from 61.1 in July, the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino reported.
Fifty is the benchmark for whether manufacturing is expanding or contracting, so August’s number is considered solid despite the seven-point month-over-month decline.
“The decrease should not be seen as a cause for concern,” the report stated. “Indeed, the index has remained above the baseline 50 percent mark for the last 20 months, indicating sustained growth for both the manufacturing sector and the overall local economy.”
Production and new orders fell sharply in August, but both have been at or above 50 for the past eight months, “indicating a trend of growth and the anticipation that there will be increasing levels of consumer purchases in the near future.”
Inventory and employment in Riverside and San Bernardino counties were also down between July and August, while supplier deliveries increased.
The Inland Empire’s purchasing managers remained confident about the local economy’s future: 31 percent said they expect it to get stronger during the next three months, while 58 percent said they expect it to stay the same and 11 percent said they expect it to get weaker, according to the index.