Report from Gardener Business showed the following:

  • New orders activity just barely started growing in March, while backlog contracted at the same rate as February.
  • Export activity contracted more slowly again in March.
  • Primarily to support new orders, production and employment (which tend to move together in times of typical labor supply) expanded at faster rates in March. However, activity remains below levels observed for most of the preceding 24 months.
  • Supplier deliveries continued to lengthen at a slower rate in March, which suggests the worst of the supply chain woes is behind us. Should the trend continue, supplier deliveries will shorten, which is a good thing for shops receiving materials, but a sign of softening volume overall.
  • That the overall Gardner Business Index: Precision Machining was down while most components (reported as 3-month moving averages) expanded faster or contracted slower in March makes for heightened anticipation as to how the combinations will shake out, and potentially synch, come April.

Gartner report graph