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Manufacturing in the doldrums


The U.S. manufacturing sector grew in June at its most sluggish rate in 18 months, as the pace of output, hiring and new orders all slowed, according to an an industry survey that was released today, Reuters reported.

The final Markit U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers index stood at 52.5 in June, below both a preliminary estimate of 52.9 and May’s reading of 54. June marked the index’s lowest level since December 2010, Reuters said.

Factories were hurt by weak European demand for U.S. goods, a situation that should persist “for some time to come” as Europe struggles with austerity budgets and sluggish growth, said Markit chief economist Chris Williamson.

One bright spot has been “resilient demand” from the domestic market, which Williamson said has helped U.S. factories outperform those in most other economies.

However, the slowest pace of hiring in the sector since late 2010 suggests overall job creation in the U.S. economy remained modest in June, Williamson said.

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