Moldmaking Index Moves Higher
March 2019 – 53.9
The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Moldmaking climbed to 53.9 through March’s end. During the last nine-months, the Index oscillated within a narrow range of readings, averaging 53.6. Compared to March 2019, the Index is down 9.9 percent; however, one year ago the Index was just coming off February 2018’s all-time high. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the month’s underlying data reveals production, supplier deliveries, new orders and employment lifted the Index higher, while exports and backlogs pulled it lower. Only backlogs registered a contractionary reading for the month.
The March data signaled strong activity in production, new orders and employment. The last time these all expanded at similar rates was May 2018, just three months after the Index reached its peak in the current business cycle. The greater expansion in production compared to new orders and unchanging export orders sent March’s backlog reading to its lowest level since 2016’s fourth quarter. Since July 2018, production activity generally outpaced new orders, causing a significant contraction in backlogs at times.
Growth in backlogs are the primary driver of the Moldmaking Index, at 60.3 for February.
The Moldmaking Index jumped nearly five points in September, driven by surging new orders.
The latest survey data suggests that the current market expansion may be nearing maturity as slowing growth in new orders and production is eclipsed by increasing growth in production throughput, factors that affect the Moldmaking Index, at 53.0 for June 2018.