March Finishing Business Index at 55
Numbers reflect the fastest growth since May 2012.
The Finishing Business Index, compiled by Gardner Research, a division of Products Finishing publisher Gardner Business Media, is emailed monthly to the magazine’s subscribers. This is a diffusion index, similar to the ISM index, where a reading of 50.0 indicates expansion and a reading below 50.0 indicates contraction in the industry. The total index is the average of six subindices—new orders, production, backlog, employment, exports and supplier deliveries. Other subindices are calculated to help determine the state of finishing shops. One average of this index relative to the ISM index is that the respondents are all finishers instead of small representative sample of all of U.S. manufacturing.
You can find all the finishing data at gardnerweb.com/forecast/finishing.htm.
With a reading of 55.0, Gardner’s March finishing business index showed that the finishing industry grew for the third consecutive month and at its fastest rate since May 2012. Since August, the level of business activity in the finishing industry has been improved dramatically. The March finishing index was 12.2 percent higher than it was in March 2013—the seventh straight month that it was higher than one year earlier. And the annual rate of change grew for the first time in at least four months.
New orders and production both grew for the third month in a row; the rate of growth in new orders increased significantly, and the rate of growth in production was the fastest since May 2012. Backlogs are still contracting, but the rate of contraction in March was the slowest since May 2012. Backlogs have been improving since last September compared to year-ago levels, and, on an annual basis, they have increased at an accelerating rate in both February and March. This is a strong sign that capacity utilization and capital spending at finishing facilities will improve throughout the remainder of 2014. Employment increased in four of the previous five months, while exports increased for the first time since April 2012. Supplier deliveries continue to lengthen at a reasonably steady rate.