Tallahassee Journal

Manufacturing activity slowed in January

Manufacturing activity slowed in January

The nation’s factories expanded more slowly than expected in January as plunging oil prices and the strengthening dollar hobbled manufacturers. A closely watched index of manufacturing activity fell from 55.1 to 53.5, the Institute for Supply Management said, its lowest measure in 12 months. A reading above 50 indicates that the sector is expanding, while below 50 means it’s shrinking.635584660526258751-EPA-FILE-USA-ECONOMY-MOTOROLA-001

Most worrisome is that a measure of new orders, which foreshadows future production, fell sharply, to 52.9 from 57.8. The production index dropped modestly to 56.5 from 57.7. And a measure of employment slipped to 54.1 from 56.

Tumbling oil and gasoline prices have caused some energy giants to pull back on drilling and exploration, hobbling steel and other manufacturers. And the strong dollar makes U.S. goods more expensive for foreign customers, reducing demand and also cuts profits after currency conversion.

The report also cited a work slowdown at West Coast ports amid a contract dispute, noting that it’s “negatively impacting both exports and imports as well as inventories.”

Calendar

August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031