Manufacturing growth continues in March

Perhaps bolstered by the number of firms reshoring jobs in America, domestic manufacturing continued to grow through the third month of the still young year. However, because of governmental sparring over the sequestration, business took a slight hit during March, but it wasn't enough of a haymaker to derail the manufacturing rebirth. A couple new indexes found the sector grew steadily throughout the month, helped by a notable increase in employment. As such, businesses can work with manufacturing recruiters to inform talent acquisition strategies.

March up, but at a slower pace
Recently, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) announced its Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered a reading of 51.3 percent in March, down 2.9 percentage points from the February level of 54.2 percent. While the index did experience a dip, it still indicated U.S. manufacturing was growing, but at a slightly slower pace than the year before. An index reading above 50 suggests expansion, while below hints at contraction.

The PMI determined a central driver of the continued growth in manufacturing was the increase in employment during March. The employment component of the index reached a level of 54.2 percent, up 1.6 percentage points from February's 52.6 percent, the second largest-rise among all measured indicators, behind only an uptick in exports.

While manufacturing recruiters and firms can look optimistically upon the encouraging job news, they may be less enthused when looking at new order and production, which both experienced noteworthy decreases of 6.4 percentage points and 5.4 percentage points, respectively.

Despite the overall slowing of the manufacturing sector, respondents to the PMI survey indicated things may be better than they appear.

"[The] market continues to be strong, and our production is exceeding plans at this time," said one respondent in wood products.

Separate index shows March better than February
While the ISM's index showed a dip between February and March, an index kept by Markit found the sector actually did better, with its index rising to 54.6 in March from 54.3 the month before.

Manufacturing recruiters will likely be in high demand as the employment component of the Markit index showed similar gains were made in hiring in comparison to PMI's. March's level was 54.6, 1.1 points higher than the 53.5 reached during February.

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