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Manufacturing bounces back

Region's industry still contracting

An economic index of the Inland Empire bounced back last month after previously marking the lowest figure in three years. However, experts are still concerned over how a lack of growth in the manufacturing industry is impacting economic recovery.

The Purchasing Managers Index increased to 49.1 percent in October from 43.4 during the previous month, according to the Institute of Applied Research at California State University, San Bernardino.

PMI measures the state of the manufacturing sector and economy by asking purchasing managers whether production, new orders, inventory, employment and other elements of manufacturing have improved compared to the previous month. Any PMI over 50 indicates growth.

“Although this month’s PMI registered a sharp increase from last month’s figure, it is still below 50 percent,” researchers of the survey stated in a press release. “Further, all main indicators which comprise the PMI registered 50 or below. If in fact the PMI remains below 50 percent for another month, there will be indications that the local manufacturing sector has changed direction and is now contracting.”

The production index increased to 50 in October from 37.5, and new orders index went up from 37 to 48.8. The employment index also increased from 44.6 to 47.6 with several companies stating they added permanent staff this month.

While imports showed a slight decline from 43.8 to 40, exports increased from 35.7 to 43.8.

Positive remarks from purchasing managers refer to a steady, slight improvement in the economy. Negative comments included uncertainty of the upcoming election, which the researchers said contributed to the sharp PMI decline in September.

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