The results of the quarterly Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) Survey on the Business Outlook—March 2012 (EO-104) indicate an overall picture of continued growth for the industrial sector, but at a more moderate pace during 2012.
The survey’s composite index is a leading indicator for the manufacturing sector. The March 2012 composite index fell slightly to 65 from 66 in the December 2011 survey. Despite the decline — its seventh straight since reaching a record high of 81 in June 2010 — the index remains well above the threshold of 50, the dividing line that separates contraction and expansion.
The Composite Business Outlook Index is a weighted sum of the Prospective U.S. Shipments, Backlog Orders, Inventory, and Profit Margin Indexes. In addition to the composite index, which reflects the views of 59 senior financial executives representing a broad range of manufacturing industries, the survey includes 13 individual indexes that are split between current business conditions and forward looking prospects.