The manufacturing sector just notched its worst stretch since 2009

April 1, 2020, 5:22 PM UTC

American manufacturing contracted in March at the same time public leaders are pushing the industry to ramp up and produce more in-demand health care products.

The Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) came in at 49.1% in March, down from 50.1% in February. A PMI below 50% signals a contracting manufacturing sector.

Before the March contraction, U.S. manufacturing was already in a lull. In fact, March marked the sixth month of contraction over the past year—the sector’s worst stretch since 2009.

“The coronavirus pandemic and shocks in global energy markets have impacted all manufacturing sectors,” said Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, in its press release.

While manufacturers tied to the transportation equipment and petroleum sectors saw the steepest decrease, producers in the food and beverage sector actually saw an increase as shoppers rushed to stock up at supermarkets.

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