U.S. manufacturing activity picked up in October
WASHINGTON >> Manufacturing expanded in the United States and China last month, good news for a sputtering global economy.
The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its manufacturing index came in at 51.9, up from 51.5 in September. Anything above 50 signals growth. Ten of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth last month.
Separately across the Pacific, private and official surveys showed Tuesday that China’s factory activity rose in October to the highest level in two years, a sign the world’s second-biggest economy may be stabilizing after years of decelerating growth. The news “adds fuel to the narrative that global demand is finally heating up after a dismal showing in the first half of the year,” Fotios Raptis, senior economist at TD Economics, wrote in a research report.
For U.S. factories, production and export orders grew faster in October. A measure of factory employment rose last month after falling for three straight months. The Labor Department issues its jobs report for October on Friday. The ISM suggests the report may show that factory employment climbed last month after falling in August and September.
U.S. factories have now expanded seven of the last eight months, a sign they’ve overcome the weight of a strong dollar that makes their products costlier in foreign markets.
“It’s a good start to the fourth quarter,” said Bradley Holcomb, chair of the institute’s manufacturing survey committee. The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers.
Still, the Commerce Department reported last week that orders for bigticket manufactured goods dipped in September and that a category that tracks business investment registered the biggest drop in seven months.
Overall, the U.S. economy has picked up speed: The Commerce Department reported last week that the economy grew at a 2.9 percent annual clip from July through September, fastest in two years.