Economy: Business activity plunges as coronavirus hits
admin | March 27, 2020
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Business activity in both manufacturing and service sectors dropped to decade lows in March marking the second month of economic contraction. The US Composite PMI fell to 40.5 in March, down from 49.6 in February, with both readings below 50 signaling a contraction in output. Not surprisingly, business activity in the services sector registered a new series low while manufacturing output was the lowest since August 2009. Firms rapidly reduced their workforce as new and outstanding business orders fell, while prices were cut to bolster sales. Firms remained optimistic that business activity would eventually bounce back, though uncertainty about how long the shutdown would last pushed confidence down to the lowest level ever recorded by the survey. The IHS Markit PMI report is here. Sources: IHS Markit, APS
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