Manufacturing in the Inland Empire declined for the second consecutive month in November, according to data released last week.
The region’s purchasing managers index for the next-to-last month of the year was 49.6, just below the 50 benchmark that determines if manufacturing is growing or receding, according to the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino.
That’s not so good news, but it’s too early to panic because it takes three consecutive months in either direction to establish a trend, said Barbara Sirotnik, institute director and co-author of the monthly report.
Because the index is barely below 50, November may only be the result of the market volatility caused by inflation, instability in the supply chain and/or employment issues, Sirotnik wrote in the report’s introduction.
The report did however, contain some good news.
Production, one of the index’s main components, went from 51.9 in October to 55.6 last month. The index’s other major element – new orders – dropped from 42.3 to 37 month-over-month.
Employment fell from 5.7 to 48.1, a significant drop but one that can probably be blamed on seasonal factors. The commodity price index in Riverside and San Bernardino counties declined 65.4 to 61.1, possibly the result of an easing of inflation caused by the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes.
The region’s purchasing managers are seldom optimistic, and that remained so in October. Only four percent said they expect the Inland economy to improve during the next three months, while 41 percent believe it will stay the same and 55 percent expect it to get worse, according to the index.