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April MBI at 52.8 – Slower Growth Continues

The MBI showed that the metalworking industry continues to grow more slowly, falling from its peak rate of growth in November 2010.

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With a reading of 52.8, the MBI showed that the metalworking industry continues to grow more slowly, falling from its peak rate of growth of 66.2 in November 2010. Also, April’s growth rate is just ahead of the slowest rate of growth, 52.5 in February 2010, of this expansionary cycle.
 
The most noteworthy reason for the slower growth in the MBI was a significant decline in the production subindex, which dropped to 53.3 from 63.9. Production has been growing for 21 consecutive months, but this is virtually the slowest rate of growth since August 2009. Even though production slowed significantly, backlogs contracted for the second straight month. This is the first time that has happened since August 2009.
 
However, new orders are still growing at a fairly fast rate. So, expectations should be that production and backlogs will not fall too far. Also contributing to the slower growth in the MBI was the supplier deliveries subindex. While delivery times are still lengthening, they are not lengthening as much. With material prices still growing faster than prices received, downward pressure continues to be applied to margins. Future business expectations improved, but they are still below the levels seen during most of this expansion.