Forest industry performance in March and April was reported by both the US government and the Institute for Supply Management.
Total industrial production (IP) fell 0.6 percent for a second month in March (Table 3), the sixth decline in the past seven months. For 1Q2016 as a whole, IP fell at an annual rate of 2.2 percent. Continued pullbacks in mining and utilities were responsible for a substantial portion of the overall March decrease, but manufacturing, Wood Products and Paper also retreated.
The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) surveys showed that U.S. manufacturing’s pace of expansion slowed slightly during April (Figure 2). The PMI dropped 1.0 percentage point, to 50.8 percent. (50 percent is the breakpoint between contraction and expansion.) The most noticeable change in the PMI data involved a jump in input prices. Otherwise, except for exports and imports, sub-index values either remained in contraction or were lower than in March (Table 4).