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U.S. Manufacturing Powers On Even as Inflation Heats Up in March

  • Latest regional Fed surveys highlight sustained factory growth
  • Soaring materials prices, supply chains complicate progress
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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell tells the House Financial Services Committee that prices will rise this year as the Covid-19 pandemic recedes. Source: Bloomberg)

American manufacturing continues to pour on the momentum as the first quarter draws to a close -- despite supply-chain woes and surging materials costs that are driving the inflation debate.

Freshly released March data show an increasing number of factory purchasing managers are reporting faster expansion. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s index of general business activity soared to an almost five-decade high, while the IHS Markit’s preliminary gauge of U.S. manufacturing was the second-strongest in data back to 2007.