Buffalo Niagara manufacturers kept humming along in February.
A new report, based on a survey of local purchasing managers, indicated that business at the region’s factories grew slightly slower in February, but still robustly, fueled by strong hiring and solid growth in production and the flow of new orders.
“February and January look great relative to November and December, with production and new orders growing at rates similar to earlier in 2017," said Randall Cragun, the Niagara University economist who compiles the monthly report on local manufacturing activity for the Institute of Supply Management – Buffalo.
The group’s business activity index fell to 67.8 in February, down slightly from the three-month high of 70 it set during January. The index, which can swing wildly from month to month, had reached a 20-year high in October, only to see the pace of growth slow during each of the following two months before rebounding in January.
An index above 50 indicates growth at local factories, while a reading below that is a sign of weakness. The local index has been above 50, indicating factory growth, for 18 straight months.
The strength was broad-based, led by continued growth in hiring, which has grown for 17 straight months. Production and new orders also were strong, although the pace of growth was slightly slower than it was during January. Commodity prices rose rapidly, while inventories shrunk for the first time since last March.