Manufacturing in the Inland Empire continued to grow during July.
The region’s purchasing manager’s index last month was 54.8, a slight increase compared with June, according to a report released Friday by Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino.
July was the fourth consecutive month that the index was above 50, the benchmark for manufacturing growth; below 50 and the manufacturing sector is shrinking.
Because three consecutive months is considered a trend, manufacturing in the two-county region -as well as the region’s economy in general – is definitely growing, said Barbara Sirotnik, the institute’s director.
In other areas, the monthly index sent out mostly positive signals.
The employment index jumped to 60, up from 47.1 in June. That’s the highest that number has been since May of last year, and there are signs that local purchasing managers are starting to make permanent hires rather than hiring temporary workers.
Exports and imports both posted gains, as did inventories, but production last month was 56.7, down from 63.2 in June, according to the index.
Local purchasing managers remained optimistic about the local economy: 34 percent said they expect the local economy to get stronger during the next three months, while 43 percent believe it will remain unchanged.
Only 23 percent predicted the Inland economy will get weaker during that time, according to the index.
“Purchasing managers are somewhat bullish about the state of the local economy,” Sirotnik said in a statement.