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ISM manufacturing index falls to six-month low in October

November 01, 2018

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in October at a slower pace than in September, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers index for US manufacturing. September’s index reading registered 57.7, down from August’s reading of 59.8.

Any reading above 50% generally indicates improving conditions.

The employment portion of the index fell to a reading of 56.8 in October from 58.8 in September, also indicating expansion at a slower pace.

“Employment continued to expand, supporting production growth,” said Timothy Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Business Survey committee. “Respondents continued to note labor-market issues as a constraint to their production and their suppliers’ production capability.” According to Fiore, an Employment Index above 50.8%, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data on manufacturing employment.

MarketWatch reported the ISM manufacturing index hit a six-month low and came in below the reading of 58.7% forecast in its poll of economists. Corporate purchasing managers lamented rising prices, tariffs, shortages and waning foreign demand.

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