Metalworking Index Extends Its Consistent Growth Pattern

The February Index records four months of consistent expansion.

The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking registered 53.6 in February, marking the fourth consecutive month in which the Index has moved in a very narrow growth range. The latest reading is marginally lower than the range of readings recorded earlier in the current business cycle. As compared to the same month one year ago, the Index is 13.2 percent lower; however, this comparison gages the latest month’s data against the February 2018 record-high reading of more than 61.0. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying data for the month observed that the Index (calculated as an average of its components) was supported by supplier deliveries, production and employment. The components that lowered the Index included new orders, backlog and exports. Backlogs reported a very small contraction, while exports reported its third consecutive contractionary reading.

February recorded the weakest expansionary reading for new orders since late 2016, registering slightly below 53.0. In contrast, the expansionary readings for both production and supplier deliveries were more comparable to earlier quarters when the economy was growing faster. February’s contraction in backlogs is consistent with an expansion in production and slowing in new orders.