MAPI Survey: U.S. Manufacturing Faces Bumpy Road

Manufacturers will face challenges as they try to fend off prolonged damage from the economic crisis, according to the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI.

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Manufacturers will face increasingly difficult challenges in the near term as they try to stave off prolonged damage from the current economic crisis, according to the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI.

MAPI's September 2008 composite index dropped to 48 from 50 in June, signaling that overall manufacturing activity is expected to contract over the next three to six months. The index is at its lowest point since December 2001.

"The trends in most of the individual indexes clearly reflect the recent slowdown in manufacturing activity and the forward-looking indexes point to a reduction in activity in the next three to six months," said Donald A. Norman, Ph.D., MAPI Economist and survey coordinator. "Events in the financial markets since mid-September will likely amplify the downturn in manufacturing activity in the United States and abroad."

The inventory index fell to 58 percent in September from 69 percent in june, as the backlogs index fell from 59 in June to 49 percent in September.

The capacity utilization index fell to 37.6 percent from June's 41 percent.

The quarterly orders index was down to 44 percent from 46 percent in June. The prospective U.S. shipments index was down from 52 percent to 47 percent in September.

The prospective non-U.S. shipments index went from 89 percent in June to 73 percent in September, but was still a solid reading. The export orders index edged up from 73 percent to 76 percent.

The annual orders index, which compares expected orders for all of 2009 with orders in 2008, fell to 58 percent from 78 percent in September 2007.

For more information on the survey, visit 

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