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Inland Empire Makes News in Manufacturing.001
Inland Empire Makes News in Manufacturing.001

Inland Empire Manufacturing Slumps

The Inland Empire’s manufacturing sector is no longer growing.

The two-county region’s purchasing managers index was 47.4 in December, the third consecutive month that figure was below 50, according to data released Wednesday by the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State Fullerton.

Because 50 is the baseline for whether the sector is expanding or contracting, and because three consecutive months in either direction is considered a trend, manufacturing in Riverside and San Bernardino counties is officially contracting, said Barbara Sirotnik, director of the institute and co-author of the monthly index.

Not everything in the index was bad, Sirotnik noted.

Production and new orders, the two most important elements of the index, were up, meaning December was a more productive month than November.

On the negative side, the employment index dropped to 46., the first time since last January that number has slipped below 50. Inventory and commodity prices were also down, according to the index.

Despite those negative trends, purchasing managers were optimistic about the local economy: 31 percent of those surveyed said they expect the Inland Empire economy to get stronger during the next three months, while 17 percent said they expect it to get weaker.

The remaining 52 percent said they expect it to stay the same, according to the index.

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