Manufacturing in the Inland Empire grew for the seventh consecutive month in July.
The region’s purchasing managers index last month was 58.3, a month-over-month increase of 3.5, according to a report released Wednesday by the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino.
Fifty or above means manufacturing is growing, and if local manufacturing is growing then the local economy is growing as well, said Barbara Sirotnik, director of the institute and co-author of the report.
“We’re currently in the middle of good, steady growth, and there’s no reason to think that it won’t continue,” Sirotnik said. “The one thing that has me concerned is all of unrest in Washington, D.C. If the [Affordable Care Act] gets killed, or if something happens with North Korea, the economy could really get hurt.
“But none of that is showing up in the data yet.”
The index, which the institute publishes on or near the first workday of every month, is made up of six categories: prices, production, new orders, inventory, employment and deliveries.
Last month, all of those categories were above 50 and four of them – prices, production, new orders and inventory – were stronger than they were in June.
Maybe the most encouraging part of the July report was the confidence local purchasing managers expressed in the Inland economy’s future.
Thirty six percent of those surveyed said they expect the local economy to improve during the next three months, while 60 percent said they expect it to remain the same.
Only four percent said they expect it to get weaker during that time.
“Since we’re in growth mode, that means 96 percent of the purchasing managers believe the economy is going to keep growing during the upcoming quarter,” Sirotnik said.