The streak is over.
The Inland Empire’s purchasing managers index was 49 in August, down from 53 in July and below 50 for the first time in nearly two years, according to data released by the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino.
That’s the not-so-good news in this month’s report: an index below 50 means manufacturing in Riverside and San Bernardino counties is retracting.
But it takes three consecutive months to establish trend, so the Inland manufacturing sector at 50 or above for 23 straight months – can be described as slightly in limbo.
“There is no cause for concern yet,” said Barbara Sirotnik institute director and a co-author of the report. “On the other hand, we must note that there has been an overall downward trend in the PMI since this year’s high of 62.2 in March.
“Hopefully, this month’s figure is only a one-time drop rather than a continuation of that downward trend.”
The six categories that make up last month’s index – commodity prices, production, new orders, inventory, employment and supply orders – were either moving in the wrong direction or flat compared with July.
The region’s purchasing managers were even more pessimistic than normal. Only four percent who surveyed last month said they expect the local economy to improve during the next three months, while 46 percent said they expect it stay the same and 50 percent said the believe it will get weaker, according to the index.