02 December 2002
Manufacturing in U.S. down again
Tempe, Arizona - The Institute for Supply Management said its index of business activity was 49.2 in November, a slight improvement from the 48.5 reading in October.
The index comes out of a survey of executives who buy the raw materials for manufacturing at more than 350 companies.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector; a reading below 50 suggests the sector is contracting.
Many of the purchasing managers surveyed expressed concerns that their business was "flat" or "depressed."
There was also anxiety about the dock shutdown on the West Coast earlier this fall, as well as the possibility of a war with Iraq.
In addition to the decline in new orders, the survey revealed continuing contraction in employment.
Production, however, showed more strength, particularly in the furniture, tobacco, textiles, chemicals, and food industries.
Economists value this report because it offers an early reading on the health of the manufacturing sector.
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