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The Industrial Supply Association posted its April Economic Indicator Report on Tuesday, showing continued solid expansion for both its distributor and supplier members despite a slight dip in the Institute of Supply Management's latest Purchasing Managers Index (PMI).

ISA's Distributor Index had a March reading of 63.0 — identical to February — while its Manufacturers Index gained 5.5 points to a mark of 65.5 — its second-highest of the past year to October's 68.0.

The PMI — widely regarded as a good indicator of the overall U.S. manufacturing economy — dipped 0.5 points to 52.2 in March to snap a six-month increase streak.

For all three indexes, a reading above 50 percent indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

March's readings indicate continued strong expansion for ISA distributors and suppliers, with suppliers growing at an even faster rate in March than in February. Meanwhile, the overall manufacturing economy continues to expand, albeit at a slightly slower rate than in February.

ISA Distributor members' notable growth factors in March were:

  • Business Activity — 39.1 in February to 48.1 in March
  • Imports — 80.0 to 87.5
  • Sales — 39.1 to 44.4
  • Anticipated Business Conditions — 63.0 to 74.1
  • Anticipated New Orders — 65.2 to 72.2

ISA Distributor members' had no notable declining factors.

Full anonymous distributor comments in ISA's February Economic Indicator Report included: 

  • "For now we have turned the corner. It remains to be seen if this is a flash or the real deal."
  • "March was a fairly extended month with 23 business days but our markets still showed better strength than we've seen in a awhile. Expect April to continue with higher activity but we drop down to 20 days with a few big religious holiday that could slow things some."
  • "March 2016 was the best year of our year, this year March 2017 was very good but slightly lower than last year."
  • "Every thing is still good but not as good as the first 2 ½ months."
  • "Great month for us. Construction spending is strong as it mining, oil and gas (rebounding) and strength in manufacturing. We had our best month since 2014."
  • "A few customers getting exceptionally slow."
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