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US manufacturing grew again in April

Eleven of 18 industries report growth in Institute for Supply Management' manufacturing index.


WASHINGTON — US manufacturers expanded in April for the second straight month, suggesting that factories are adapting to a strong dollar and economic weakness overseas, according to a private survey.

The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index came in at 50.8 last month, down from March’s 51.8 reading but above the 50 threshold that signals growth. The March number had snapped a five-month losing streak for manufacturers.

Export orders grew faster in April. Still, the index came in below economists’ expectations, and new orders and production grew more slowly last month than they did in March. A measure of employment fell, suggesting that factories are cutting workers.

Eleven of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth last month. “This morning’s report brings another welcome sign of stabilization for the US manufacturing sector,” Barclays economist Rob Martin wrote in a research report.

The dollar surged last year, but has fallen since January, giving some American factories some relief. A strong dollar makes US goods more expensive in foreign markets.

The ISM, a trade group of purchasing managers, surveys about 200 US companies each month.

Last week, the Commerce Department reported that orders to US factories for long-lasting goods rose in March, rebounding from a drop in February. But the gain was generated by rising demand for military equipment, a volatile category. Excluding defence, durable goods orders dropped 1 per cent in March.

The American economy has drawn more strength from services than manufacturing. The ISM’s services index has come in above 50 every month since January 2010.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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