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April 4, 2002

■ The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) reported that its index of
business activity in the nonmanufacturing part of the U.S. economy
slipped 1.4 percentage points in March to 57.3 percent. For the
first quarter, the index averaged 55.2 percent, its highest reading
in five quarters. An index value greater than 50 percent indicates
that more nonmanufacturing industries are reporting faster growth
than weaker growth.
■ The ISM index of business activity in the manufacturing sector rose
0.9 percentage points in March to 55.6 percent, the highest reading
since February 2000. According to the ISM, an index value routinely
above 42.7 percent is consistent with “an expansion of the overall
economy.” The manufacturing index has been above 42.7 percent
since November 2001.
■ In February, the nominal value of total factory orders fell 0.1
percent, after rising 1.1 percent in January. However, new orders
for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft rose 0.9 percent,
the fourth increase in the past five months. The book value of
manufacturers’ inventories fell 0.4 percent in February, the smallest
decline in 10 months.
■ Following gains of 0.5 percent in December 2001 and 0.9 percent
in January, real construction spending rose 1.2 percent in February,
the largest increase since January 2001. Paced by a 3.8 percent
rise in real residential outlays, private construction spending rose
1.9 percent, the largest increase since February 2000. Real construction spending on publicly financed projects fell 0.8 percent in
February, the first decline in five months.
All data are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated.
U.S. Financial Data is published weekly by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of
St. Louis. For more information on data, please call (314) 444-8590. To be added to the mailing
list, please call (314) 444-8809.
Information in this publication is also included in the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) data base
on the internet at

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