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Manufacturing in Inland Empire

IE manufacturing perks up, for now

Inland Empire manufacturing has bounced back, at least for the moment.

The region’s purchasing managers index was 50 in January, according to data released Feb. 2 by the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino.

That came one month after the December index registered 47, the third consecutive month that number was below 50, which officially established that manufacturing in the Inland sector was shrinking.

So Inland manufacturing has been given a temporary reprieve, although it must post 50-or-better indexes this month and in March to be officially back on track.

Production and new orders, the index’s primary components, were both up in January. Production was 48 (from 46.3 in December) while new orders were at 48, up from 46.3.

New orders, employment and inventory levels also rose month-over-month, while the Inland region’s commodity price index went from 51.9 in December to 60 last month, an increase attributed to high gas prices.

Despite those encouraging numbers, the region’s purchasing managers remain what they almost always are regarding the Inland economy’s immediate future: pessimistic.

Only eight percent of those surveyed said they expect the local economy to get stronger during the next three months, while 46 percent believe it will weaken and 46 percent believe it will stay the same during that time, according to the index.

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