ATLANTA – Production, employment and sales at Georgia factories are braking, according to the most recent Purchasing Managers Index.

August’s 8-point decline from July in the index released Tuesday drops it 45.9, below the 50 point reading that generally indicates an expanding overall economy.

Coming amid the gyrations in the stock market and news of China’s slowing economy, the report suggests that weakness may not be isolated to Asia or Wall Street.

The Econometric Center at Kennesaw State University compiles the index by surveying managers at plants across the state. Their reports of new orders, production and employment all fell for the second straight month.

“Manufacturing has been weaker and more volatile in the last four months,” said Don Sabbarese, economics professor and director emeritus of the center. “This is consistent with the mixture of positive and negative data on a broader economic level. This volatility creates uncertainty and has made it more difficult to identify a clear trend going forward.”

The number of managers reporting lower hiring jumped from 8 percent in June and July to 26 percent, adding concern because employment does not normally fluctuate as much as other indicators in the index, he said.

“Automobile manufacturing continues to be the strongest yet most volatile sector contributing to this uncertainty,” Sabbarese said.

The national Purchasing Managers Index stands at 51.1, down from 52.7 in July, according to the Institute for Supply Management.


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