Metalworking industry business activity showed net growth for the first time since June 2012 in the March Gardner metalworking business index (MBI).
The March reading of 50.5, which shows an increase of 0.9 from the February figures, signifies growth, the first time the industry has not contracted since the June 2012 numbers. Although the March MBI shows a deceleration of the growth rate since the low in November 2012, all indicators were either positive or signaling a return to expansion.
New orders and production both grew since the February MBI, while backlogs continued to shrink. Gardner cited the backlog figures, and their slow deceleration, as one of the key factors preventing a more robust recovery. In the shadow of a strong dollar buoyed by business and banking troubles in Europe and Asia, exports will also keep growth from rebounding at steeper levels.
Gardner noted that major uncertainties around the election and the fiscal cliff drove contraction for six months. With these issues in the past, the industry seems to be rebounding.
You can see more about the March MBI here.