01 April 2008 | Jake Kanter
Activity in the manufacturing industry in March continued to grow, and at the same rate as the previous month.
According to the latest CIPS/NTC PMI report on manufacturing, where a figure above 50 represents growth, the industry recorded 51.3. This was the same figure as in February.
Input prices reached their second-highest reading since the study began, rising from 72.7 in February to 76.3 last month. The increase was due to high oil prices driving up the cost of both logistics and energy.
The sector continued to pass these cost rises on to customers as output prices hit a record high of 60.6 in March, up from the mark of 59.9 registered in February.
The number of new orders continued to decline compared with February, recording 49.8, down from 49.9. The decrease was blamed on a slowdown in the housing market and clients not willing to commit to new expenditure.
Staff numbers increased for the first time since December. The index recorded a figure of 50.8, rising from February's figure of 49.9.
* Further coverage of PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi