Donald A. Norman, Ph.D., senior economist
The Composite Business Outlook Index was 56 in March, up from 55 in December. This quarter's increase, while small, is the first increase since June 2010. The small rise in the composite index, coupled with the improvement in both investment indexes and the fact that the Annual Orders Index remains at a fairly high level, indicates that the sharp slowdown of manufacturing activity that began in March 2012 has bottomed out. Continued expansion is expected, although all signs point to a slow rate of growth over the next three to six months. Economic Outlook

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