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U.S. Manufacturers Expand at Slower Pace in July

Wall Street Journal (08/03/15) Jeffrey Sparshott

Manufacturers expanded at a slower pace in July, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The ISM’s manufacturing purchasing managers index declined to 52.7 in July from 53.5 in June. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. The July data are the latest in a series of mixed reports for U.S. manufacturers.

“Obviously we’ve been kind of up and down, with signs of hope followed by some level of disappointment,” says Bradley Holcomb, who oversees the ISM survey. “Nevertheless, you’ve got to like the fact that we’ve been growing for 31 consecutive months. And I don’t see anything in terms of headwinds that would slow us down at all.”

The employment index decreased to 52.7 in July from 55.5 in June. Meanwhile, the ISM new orders index rose to 56.5 in July from 56 in June. New orders, which have risen for four consecutive months, are often seen as a leading indicator of activity.