ARLINGTON, Va. — U.S. manufacturing is expected to maintain its growth trend in the near term, according to a survey by the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI.
The September 2007 composite index was 65, unchanged from its June 2007 survey. An index above 50 suggests overall manufacturing activity is expected to increase over the next three to six months.
The research and development (R&D) index rose to 75 percent, up from 70 percent a year ago and indicating strength in the sector.
The capacity utilization index , based on the percentage of firms operating above 85 percent of capacity, increased to 41.7 percent in September from 37.6 percent in June.
The profit margin index was unchanged at 69 percent. The prospective shipments index was also steady at 77 percent.
The annual orders index was at 78, down from 80 a year ago. The exports orders index, which was at an all-time high of 79 percent in June, was at 75.
The backlogs index slipped from 71 percent in June to 66 percent. The inventory index was at 63, down from 70 percent in June. The quarterly orders index decreased two points to 73 percent.
The investment index had the most significant drop, falling from 72 percent a year ago to 62 percent in September.
“Most of the manufacturing sector has weathered a period that saw activity slow starting in the latter part of 2006,” said Donald A. Norman, Ph.D., Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Economist and survey coordinator. “The stability of the composite index and the fact that all indexes, including those that slopped a bit between June and September, remain at relatively high levels point to continued growth for most industries.”