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ISM: U.S. Manufacturing Slows Further in February

Wall Street Journal (03/02/15) Kathleen Madigan

U.S. manufacturers retreated in February on the heels of weakness in overseas markets and West Coast ports labor difficulties. Supply disruptions resulting from the West Coast ports slowdown led to a retreat in the Institute for Supply Management’s top-line purchasing managers’ index to 52.9 in February, from 53.5 in January. It was the fourth consecutive monthly decline in the index, although a number above 50 signals expansion. The ISM indexes on production, new orders, and employment also signaled expansion in those areas but at a slower pace than in January.

It is unclear how many responses to the survey were gathered before the tentative port agreement was announced Feb. 20. The ISM doesn’t reveal when it stops collecting responses, but a spokesperson said the process goes “very late in the month to give the most accurate picture of current activity.”