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Manufacturing index points to 2-3% GDP growth




The March ISM survey of the manufacturing sector came in weaker than expected (51.3 vs. 54), but as the chart above suggests, the level of the index is nevertheless consistent with economic growth in the first quarter of 2-3%. That would be a welcome acceleration from the previous quarter's anemic 0.4% growth.


The export orders subcomponent jumped substantially in March, suggesting that conditions overseas have improved noticeably this year after a weak second half.


The employment subcomponent remains modestly positive. Overall, nothing much to cheer about, just more of the same: modest growth, with little or no sign of any emerging weakness. 

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