A gauge of U.S. factory activity fell in June by less than forecast as output and jobs improved though new orders stalled, highlighting the repercussions of trade uncertainty and slower growth abroad.
The Institute for Supply Management index dropped to 51.7, the third straight decline and the weakest level since October 2016, the group’s data showed Monday. Still, that topped the median estimate of 51 in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The measure of new orders fell to 50, the lowest since December 2015 and equaling the dividing line between growth and contraction.
The data are consistent with other reports showing widespread weakness in manufacturing from Europe to Asia. While a trade cease-fire announced by President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at this weekend’s Group of 20 meetings could help stabilize the industry, a sluggish global economy will remain a pressing concern for producers.
The U.S. factory gauge, while still signaling expansion, has cooled in the past year as tariffs have forced domestic producers to examine alternative supply chains and delay big spending decisions. In June the ISM gauge of exports barely expanded, while an index of imports stagnated. Other issues are also weighing on American manufacturers.
Read the full story, "US Factory Gauge Drops Less Than Forecast But Orders Stall," on www.industryweek.com.
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