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IE manufacturing stays strong

Inland Empire manufacturing is definitely operating on solid ground.

The region’s purchasing managers index was 57 in February, up from 2.6 points from January, according to data released by the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino.

More important, February was the fifth consecutive month the index topped 50, the number that determines if manufacturing is expanding or contracting. That’s two months more than necessary to establish a trend.

Normally, five months of growth would be reason for long-term optimism, but this month’s report strikes a pessimistic note: “Given the recent drops in the stock market and fears about the coronavirus hitting our shores, any forecast must be made with caution,” the report states.

Still, the institute’s February numbers were strong. Prices, production and new orders all increased from 50, while employment, inventory and supply deliveries all decreased slightly from that number.

Purchasing managers in Riverside and San Bernardino counties also expressed confidence in the local economy’s immediate future: 77 percent said they expect it to get strong or stay the same during the next three months, while only 23 percent said they expect the Inland economy to weaken during that time.

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