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Financial News: U.S. Manufacturing Index Indicates Slowest Growth In Over

U.S. Manufacturing Index Indicates Slowest Growth In Over Two Year

05/01/2019 - 10:21:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Growth in U.S. manufacturing activity slowed much more than expected in the month of April, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Wednesday, with activity expanding at its slowest pace in well over two years.

The ISM said its purchasing managers index slid to 52.8 in April after unexpectedly climbing to 55.3 in March, hitting its lowest level since October of 2016.

A reading above 50 still indicates growth in the manufacturing sector, although economists had expected the index to show a much more modest decrease to 55.0.

"Comments from the panel reflect continued expanding business strength, but at the softest levels since the fourth quarter of 2016," said Timothy Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

The bigger than expected decrease by the headline index came as the new orders plunged to 51.7 in April from 57.4 in March and the production index slumped to 52.3 from 55.8.

The employment index also tumbled to 52.4 in April from 57.5 in March, indicating a notable slowdown in the pace of job growth in the manufacturing sector.

"Retention issues and sourcing of skilled and professional labor were noted by respondents as continuing drags on production performance," said Fiore.

The report said the prices index also dropped to 50.0 in April from 54.3 in March, pointing to stability in raw materials prices after an upward tick last month.

On Friday, the ISM is scheduled to release a separate report on activity in the service sector in the month of April.

The ISM's non-manufacturing index is expected to rise to 57.2 in April from 56.1 in March, indicating a modest acceleration in the pace of service sector growth.

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