U.S. Manufacturing Growth Slows

Washington, U.S. manufacturing activity slowed for a second consecutive month in April, limited by shortages of skilled workers and rising capacity constraints, but strengthening global demand continues to support the factory sector, a trade group repo...

Washington, U.S. manufacturing activity slowed for a second consecutive month in April, limited by shortages of skilled workers and rising capacity constraints, but strengthening global demand continues to support the factory sector, a trade group reported Tuesday.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its manufacturing index fell to 57.3 last month from 59.3 in March. A reading above 50 in the ISM survey indicates growth in manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy.

The survey's prices index increased 1.2 points to 79.3, the highest reading in seven years. Last month, price increases were seen across 17 of the 18 industries tracked by the ISM. Rising raw-material costs are the latest indication that inflation pressures are building.

The survey's measure of factory employment declined in April, and the ISM said there were indications that labor and skill shortages were affecting production output. Demand remains robust, but the nation's employment resources and supply chains continue to struggle, said Timothy Fiore, the chairman of the ISM manufacturing survey committee.

Despite higher raw-materials costs and shortages of skilled labor, manufacturing remains supported by an improving global economy and a weakening U.S. dollar, which makes U.S.-made goods more competitive abroad.

Source: Saudi Press Agency