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PMI stays up, but April report could contain ominous signs

April’s purchasing managers index for Riverside and San Bernardino counties is a mixed bag.

The good news: the index for the fourth month of the year was 54.2, a sharp drop from March’s 62.2. but above 50 for the 20th consecutive month, meaning the Inland Empire economy is growing and remains healthy.

The not-so-good news: inflation and disrupted supply chains are still causing problems for Inland residents and businesses, and gasoline prices are close to $2-a-gallon higher than they were last year at this time, according to the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino, which publishes the monthly index.

“We are encouraged by the continued economic recovery, but expect to see continued economic volatility in the Inland Empire economy over the next few months,” states the April index, which was released Monday.

One negative in the report involved production and new orders, both of which were down significantly: production went from 64.8 in March to 55.8 last month, while new orders fell from 59.3 to 38.5.

On the good side, employment rose slightly, 61.5, with most hirings happening in permanent positions, not temporary. Inflation also continued to be felt in the two-county region, as the commodity price index rose to 90.4 a figure the report called “quite high.” Inventories also dropped substantially, while supply deliveries remained slow.

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