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U.S. Manufacturing Contracts as New Orders Show Decline

Wall Street Journal (09/05/12) Conor Dougherty

A closely watched gauge of the factory sector, released Sept. 4 by the Institute for Supply Management, showed manufacturing activity slipped to 49.6 from 49.8 in July. It was the third consecutive month in which activity fell. The two engines of the recovery—exports along with business spending on capital equipment and other investments—appear to now be running on fumes. Exports contracted during the month, though less than in July. A gauge of new orders fell 0.9 percentage points to 47.1 in August. Manufacturers surveyed by the ISM said orders have turned down as tepid global activity—due to the slowdown in Asia and a recession in much of Europe—has curbed demand.