March Manufacturing Constricted in U.S. Due to Virus Impacts

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The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic really made its presence felt in the U.S. this March, resulting in many states to order people to stay in their homes. Of course, something like this was bound to have an impact on manufacturing, just as has been seen in other nations. Now, the first official numbers of this slowdown are coming in.

The Institute for Supply Management, (ISM), reported on Wednesday that their U.S. manufacturing fell to 49.1, an entire point lower than in February. Anything below 50 signals constriction, and while 10 of the 18 industries survived reported growth, another 6 reported a decline. Among these companies were energy producers, coal producers, and textile mills.

Listen to the Institute for Supply Management®’s Report On Business® Series for March 2020 as presented by Timothy Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

U.Ss manufacturing had grown in January and February, but the impact of the virus caused things to change in March. Still, expectations were initially for a bigger drop than reported. Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM manufacturing committee, said that things got worse as the month went on. New orders and factory employment in March fell to their lowest levels since 2009.

The U.S. isn’t the only nation experiencing such impacts to their manufacturing. J.P. Morgan also reported on Wednesday that the global manufacturing index was at 47.6 in March. While this was a slight uptick compared to February, which was at 47.1, this was mainly due to Chinese factories starting back up after their lockdowns were lifted. Excluding China, global manufacturing was at its lowest levels since May of 2009.

Italy, the Czech Republic, and Vietnam were some of the nations which had especially hard contractions in March. Additionally, among the 19 EU members that use the Euro, their shared manufacturing index fell to their lowest levels in nearly 8 years. Confidence in these manufactures also fell to a new record low.