Inland Empire manufacturing experienced a mild setback in October.
The region’s purchasing managers index last month 49.6 last month, down from 51.3 in September, according to the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino.
Though only a slight drop, the decline interrupted five consecutive months during which the index was at least 50, meaning manufacturing in Riverside and San Bernardino counties was expanding, not contracting, in that time.
Because it was such a small drop, and because it takes three consecutive months of above or below 50 to establish a trend, October’s index is probably no reason for concern. Still, for the first time since April, Inland manufacturing moved in the wrong direction.
The index’s two main components – production and new orders – both fell in October.
Production went from 54.2 to 52.1, indicating a slower rate of growth than in recent months. New orders fell much more severely: 47.9, down from 56.3 in September. That level of drop is expected at the end of the year, but it was the fifth time in the first 10 months of 2023 that new orders registered below 50.
Employment registered 56.3, up from 50 in September. The commodity price index was 62.5 in October, down from 68.8 in September.
Confidence among purchasing managers regarding the Inland economy’s immediate future remained low. None believed the local economy will improve during the next three months, 59.1 percent predicted it will weaken and 40.9 percent said they expect it to stay the same.