U.S.: Manufacturing in contraction

3 min
Dan North
Dan North Senior Economist for North America

The manufacturing sector is clearly in decline. The ISM manufacturing index fell for the seventh consec­utive month and has now been below 50 points for two straight months, thus indicating contraction. At 47.8 it’s the weakest in over 10 years. Tariffs are taking a toll, driving new export orders down to 41.0, also the lowest in over 10 years. Only one of the 10 components of the survey is above 50, and only three of 18 industries showed expansion. In a separate manufacturing report, new orders for (core) durable goods fell by -0.3% y/y, they rose +7.6% a year ago. Shipments of core durables, which are a direct input into GDP, grew a tepid +1.7% y/y, down sharply from +6.2% a year ago. Consumption is also sliding, as real personal consumption expenditures gained only +0.1% m/m in July, putting the y/y rate to a decent +2.3%, but again it was +3.7% a year ago. And consumer confidence took a hit in Septem­ber, dropping from 134 to 125 points. But in one piece of good news, the beleaguered housing market has been boosted by falling mortgage rates and has recently shown improvements in sales, starts, and permits.