breaking news

Facebook hunting photos lead to wildlife charges for New Carlisle men

US manufacturing grows in April at slower pace


By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

Associated Press

U.S. factory activity expanded at a slower pace in April, held back by weaker hiring and less company stockpiling. The report is the latest sign that economic growth may be slowing this spring.

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its index of manufacturing activity slipped to 50.7 last month. That’s down from 51.3 in March and the slowest pace this year. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

A measure of hiring fell sharply to 50.2, the lowest level since November. That suggests factories cut jobs again in April. And manufacturers cut back on stockpiling for the second straight month.

The ISM’s employment gauge hasn’t been a reliable indicator in recent months: It reached a nine-month high in March, conflicting with government data that reported factories shed 3,000 jobs.

Despite the decline in the pace of growth, economists noted that the survey still shows that manufacturing expanded for the fifth straight month. And there were some positive signs in the report.

A measure of production and new orders rose. More new orders indicate companies may have to rebuild their stockpiles in the coming months. Order backlogs grew at a faster pace. Higher orders points to more factory output in the coming months.

“This is not a slump, just more slow growth,” John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities, said.

Still, slower growth in manufacturing suggests some companies may be worried about across-the-board government spending cuts that began on March 1. The survey noted that one company tied to the defense industry mentioned that cuts had weakened its business in April.

The decline follows a report on last week that said businesses slowed their investment in facilities and equipment in the first quarter.

A recession in the 17 European Union countries that use the euro and weaker global growth threaten demand for U.S. exports. A measure of export orders in the ISM survey grew at a slower pace in April.

Factories may also see slower sales this spring because consumers are starting to feel the impact of higher Social Security taxes. Americans increased their spending from January through March at the fastest pace in more than two years. But spending on goods fell in March, a sign that the tax increase may be catching up with consumers.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Gander Mountain stores to reopen under new name
Gander Mountain stores to reopen under new name

Gander Outdoors, formerly known as Gander Mountain, announced an initial list of retail stores that are scheduled to open in 2018. Camping World Holdings Inc. was chosen as the winning bidder at a bankruptcy auction for certain acquired assets of Gander Mountain and the sale was approved in a bankruptcy court hearing in May 2017. Dozens of Gander...
Manufacturing wins help push Ohio jobless rate down
Manufacturing wins help push Ohio jobless rate down

Gains in manufacturing jobs helped push Ohio’s unemployment rate down a tick last month, to 4.7 percent, down from 4.8 percent the month before. Ohio’s non-agricultural wage and salary jobs increased by 2,500 over the month, from a revised 5,539,700 in November to 5,542,200 in December 2017, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services...
Meet the most generous book lover in Yellow Springs
Meet the most generous book lover in Yellow Springs

Countless books of the odd and unexpected varieties are in the hands of many people who have visited Yellow Springs, thanks to Kate Mooneyham.  >> 5 things to do in Yellow Springs Mooneyham, manager of Dark Star Books in Yellow Springs, has been consistently placing a large box of FREE books in the alley behind her and her mother&rsquo...
Good Samaritan closing: Employees still in shock 
Good Samaritan closing: Employees still in shock 

A day after the announcement that Good Samaritan Hospital will shut its doors for good at the end of the year, employees said their still trying to come to grips with the initial shock.  Some didn't know anything about it prior to the announcement, while others say they'd heard behind-the scenes rumblings. But all of them said Thursday that there's...
Premier planning to redevelop Good Sam site once hospital closes
Premier planning to redevelop Good Sam site once hospital closes

Premier Health officials have told this news organization that they want to "transform" the soon-to-be former main campus of Good Samaritan Hospital once the facility closes at the end of the year. They don't know exactly what redevelopment will look like on the site once the buildings are razed, but they say it's a process they will be...
More Stories