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Weak Signs For U.S. Output

Wall Street Journal (06/03/13) Ben Casselman; Neil Shah

U.S. factories in May reported their worst results since the end of the recession. The Institute for Supply Management’s broad index slipped to 49 in April from 50.7 the previous month—the first such decline since November and the lowest reading since the recession ended in June 2009. Any reading below 50 indicates contraction, say ISM officials. Brad Holcomb, chairman of ISM’s manufacturing survey panel, says the decline in new orders is especially worrisome. “I don’t recall the last time” more sectors saw declines in new orders than growth, he says. The ISM report also indicated broad-based weakness, including stagnant employment.