Manufacturing growth slows in January as new orders plunge: ISM

NEW YORK Mon Feb 3, 2014 10:45am EST

Workers assemble built-in appliances at the Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tennessee August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Berry

Workers assemble built-in appliances at the Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tennessee August 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Chris Berry

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Manufacturing grew at a substantially slower pace in January as new order growth plunged by the most in 33 years, driving overall factory activity to an eight-month low, an industry report showed on Monday.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity fell to 51.3 last month, to its lowest level since May 2013, from a recently revised 56.5 in December.

January's figure was also well below the median forecast of 56 in a Reuters poll of economists, missing even the lowest estimate of 54.2. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

The January reading marked a second straight month of slowing growth from November's recent peak reading of 57, which had been the highest since April 2011, suggesting the economy may be losing some of the momentum it had enjoyed in the second half of 2013.

The biggest red flag in the ISM report was the huge drop in the forward-looking new orders index, which fell to 51.2 from 64.4 in December. That 13.2-point drop was the largest monthly decline in that key component since December 1980.

Indicators of employment, production and inventory growth also declined from December. At 52.3, the employment reading was the weakest since June and well below December's 18-month high of 55.8.

Meanwhile, the prices index surged to 60.5 from 53.5, the highest reading since last February.

(Reporting By Dan Burns; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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Comments (1)
bertanderson wrote:
Apple shares still rising. Things aren’t that bad. It has been a lot of negative news but Apple has a lot of money and a huge market capital. They can keep the market buoyed for a long time regardless of the weakening signs of the economy….possibly another huge share buy back or an acquisition may help. It’s very unfortunate that automotive, oil, retail and housing are so weak, lets hope Facebook, Google and Apple can keep things going! Unfortunately they don’t meet any basic needs for people.

Feb 03, 2014 10:36am EST  --  Report as abuse
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