Metalworking Index Has Impressive First Quarter
First-quarter performance is unparalleled in the history of the Index.
Registering at 59.5 for March, the Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking tallied another month of expansion and set a quarterly record high. Compared to the same month a year ago, the Metalworking Index grew by more than 5 percent. More revealing, however, are the quarterly comparison figures. The average reading of 59.9 during the first quarter of 2018 was significantly better than any previous quarter’s performance since 2012. Strong expansion in production, supplier deliveries, new orders and backlog drove the Index higher. Readings of employment and exports lowered the Index’s average-based calculation, pulling the Index down. All Index components expanded during March except for exports, which remained unchanged. March’s results were notable for the fact that production expanded faster than new orders for the first time since November 2017.
Index components continue to move toward 50, led by production and new orders
With a reading of 43.2, Gardner’s Metalworking Business Index showed that the industry contracted in October for the seventh month in a row. While the index was slightly lower than it was in September, it has remained at virtually the same level for three months in a row.
Slow supply chains and rising prices are still challenges in the near-term.