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The ISM Manufacturing Index is projected to decrease slightly to 51.2 in tomorrow's update for April, based on The Capital Spectator's average econometric forecast. That reflects a marginal decline from the previously reported 51.3 reading for March. The Capital Spectator's average projection is incrementally higher than consensus forecasts in three surveys of economists.

Here's a closer look at the numbers, followed by brief summaries of the methodologies behind The Capital Spectator's projections:

VAR-1: A vector autoregression model that analyzes the history of industrial production in context with the ISM Manufacturing Index. The forecasts are run in R with the "vars" package.

VAR-8: A vector autoregression model that analyzes eight economic time series in context with the ISM Manufacturing Index. The eight additional series: industrial production, private non-farm payrolls, index of weekly hours worked, US stock market (S&P 500), real personal income less current transfer receipts, real personal consumption expenditures, spot oil prices, and the Treasury yield spread (10 year Note less 3-month T-bill). The forecasts are run in R with the "vars" package.

ARIMA: An autoregressive integrated moving average model that analyzes the historical record of the ISM Manufacturing Index in R via the "forecast" package.

ES: An exponential smoothing model that analyzes the historical record of the ISM Manufacturing Index in R via the "forecast" package.

Source: ISM Manufacturing Index: April 2013 Preview