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Reports Show Manufacturing Slowdown

By Ideas Lab Staff September 13, 2012

A chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers reports on the manufacturing sector's decline in jobs and activity.

Manufacturing jobs fell by 15,000 workers in August, the first decline in over a year, according to unemployment data released. And Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, says the jobs report mirrored other “dismal global manufacturing reports” that showed a slowdown in manufacturing activity.

According to his weekly economic report, new orders, production and exports continued to contract, and survey respondents for the Institute for Supply Management reported slowing sales and political and economic uncertainties. Prices also moved higher, while revised Bureau of Labor Statistics data confirmed that manufacturing labor productivity in the second quarter of the year “eased significantly from the first quarter on lower output growth,” Moutray wrote. Also, the Census Bureau reported that manufacturers decreased their construction investments in July, most likely responding to recent weaknesses, according to the report.

If at all comforting to the United States, Moutray also states that the slowdown in manufacturing activity was experienced worldwide with a deceleration in global manufacturing production. He explains:

“The JPMorgan Global Manufacturing & Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), prepared by Markit, found that global output eased, with manufacturing production declining for the third straight month and new orders stagnant. This data follows other releases last week showing contraction in the Eurozone, China and elsewhere. In fact, of our major trading partners, just Canada, Mexico and Hong Kong have PMI numbers greater than 50—the threshold for expansion—according to Markit.”