BEIJING — China’s manufacturing sector expanded at a fast pace in March, official data showed on March 31.
The country’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 51.5 this month, the strongest level this year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 reflects contraction. In February, China’s manufacturing PMI stood at 50.3.
The pickup in manufacturing expansion came as factories resumed production after the Spring Festival holiday, with subindices for production and new orders both rising to 53.1 and 53.3, respectively, said NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe.
Small enterprises witnessed a particularly strong increase in manufacturing activities, as the PMI for small manufacturers jumped to 50.1 in March from 44.8 last month, NBS data shows.
Zhao also attributed the faster expansion to stronger foreign trade, better industrial structure, and increased business purchasing activities.
Sectors like equipment, high-tech and consumer goods manufacturing recorded higher PMI than the overall manufacturing PMI level in March, indicating progress in bringing in new growth engines.
Chinese manufacturers were also increasingly concerned about employment issues, with 40.2 percent of the surveyed enterprises reporting high labor costs and 19.2 percent of them saying there was a labor supply shortage last month, Zhao said.