Slowly does it – PMI

14 Apr 2022




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Catherine Beard

Director, Advocacy BusinessNZ

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New Zealand's manufacturing sector saw another, albeit slight, improvement in its level of expansion, according to the latest BNZ - BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI).

The seasonally adjusted PMI for March was 53.8 (a PMI reading above 50.0 indicates that manufacturing is generally expanding; below 50.0 that it is declining).  This was 0.2 points higher than February, and above the long-term average of 53.1 for the survey.

BusinessNZ's Director, Advocacy Catherine Beard said that the March result was another encouraging step towards getting the sector back on track.     

"In terms of the main sub-indices, New Orders (61.0) continued its healthy momentum upwards, although Production (50.9) did fall back to its level of expansion experienced in January. Employment (52.4) rose to its highest level since September 2021, while Finished Stocks (53.5) also picked up to its highest result since October 2021."

Comments from manufacturers were still firmly in negative territory (64.2%), although down from 69.9% in February.  Unsurprisingly, COVID dominates discussion, with supply chain disruptions one of the key outcomes.

BNZ Senior Economist, Doug Steel stated that “Omicron's impact may not be as harsh as the first 2020 COVID lockdown or last year’s Delta lockdown, but it’s there. Production has struggled, with the index slipping to 50.9 in March and a bit further below its long-term average."

View the Time Series Data

Main Indicies

Regional Results

Manufacturing Snapshot

View Doug Steel's profile

Doug Steel

Senior Economist, BNZ


March’s Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) looks good at the headline level, but it is not without a decent chunk of bother in the detail.
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The positives

New orders stood head and shoulders above other components, both outright and compared to normal.  March’s 61.0 outcome, which is a decent push up from February’s already solid 58.6, is a full 6 points above its long-term norm.
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Omicron impact

Strong new orders indicate people want stuff done. The challenge for manufacturers has been not enough people, or materials, or capacity, or all of the above, to do it.
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It is peculiar to see a firmly positive PMI while the number of negative comments from respondents significantly outweigh positive comments. Indeed, negative comments outweighed positive comments in March by a factor of two to one.
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View full BNZ Manufacturing Snapshot

PMI Time Series Table

The results are seasonally adjusted.

National IndiciesMar
BNZ - BusinessNZ PMI 63.551.453.952.353.653.8
Employment 53.748.652.349.852.052.4
New Orders72.455.657.453.858.661.0
Finished Stocks55.348.853.052.550.253.5

View the Time Series Data

BNZ - BusinessNZ PMI Time Series

January 2018 – March 2022

PMI Time Series Graph

International Results

J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMITM
1 Apr 2022


International PMI