January 28, 2021

Manufacturing Gains Strength, But Hiring in Sector Stays Weak

A separate report on Monday showed that construction spending neared a four-year high in May, a sign that it has regained some strength after having collapsed in the 2007-2009 recession. Even with consumer and housing data pointing to a steadily improving recovery, pockets of concern remain, particularly jobs.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity rose slightly more than expected in June, to 50.9 from 49, with a reading above 50 indicating expansion. The gauge for new orders rose to 51.9 from 48.8, while production jumped to 53.4 from 48.6, helping the overall index bounce back from a contraction in May — the first in six months.

“It’s nice to see manufacturing moving back into growth territory from contraction,” said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pa.

But a measure of employment fell to 48.7, the lowest reading since September 2009. It was 50.1 in May. That could feed concern about the strength of the recovery, particularly since the Fed has said it could begin to wind down its stimulus this year.

“The employment issue is key,” Mr. Naroff said. “If those jobs are not there, you are not going to get consumer demand.”

A separate index from Markit, also showed modest growth in manufacturing, but recorded sharp slides in hiring and new orders from abroad.

“Firms are responding to the increasingly worrying order-book trend by pulling back on recruitment,” said Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist.

Construction spending neared a four-year high in May, though difficulties in the commercial real estate and factory sector subdued the pace of recovery.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/02/business/economy/manufacturing-gains-strength-but-hiring-remains-weak.html?partner=rss&emc=rss