Sep 3, 2019

Survey: U.S. manufacturing sector contracted for first time since 2016

Two closely-watched surveys on Tuesday showed a bigger-than-expected slowdown in the U.S. manufacturing sector in August — including one by the Institute for Supply Management that indicated the industry contracted for the first time since 2016.

Why it matters: The trade war, cited as a top concern among manufacturing firms, is viewed as a big factor driving the global economic slowdown. This is particularly true in the manufacturing sector, which has retreated significantly from its initial "Trump bump" after the election.

Details: The ISM survey's "purchasing managers’ index" had a reading of 49.1% last month, ending a 35-month period of expansion. Readings below 50% are considered contractions. Another survey by IHS Markit showed an index that reflects the health of the industry has slipped to its lowest level since 2009.

  • Amid fears that the U.S. may be on the brink of a recession, "manufacturing is likely to have again acted as a significant drag on the economy in the third quarter, dampening GDP growth," Chris Williamson, an economist at IHS Markit said in a release.

Go deeper: Manufacturing numbers around the world keep getting worse

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Trump attacks Fed as U.S. manufacturing index plunges to decade low

Trump and Jerome Powell. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday renewed his attacks on the Federal Reserve and Chairman Jay Powell, after a key U.S. manufacturing gauge signaled the second consecutive month of sector-wide contraction.

"As I predicted, Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve have allowed the Dollar to get so strong, especially relative to ALL other currencies, that our manufacturers are being negatively affected. Fed Rate too high. They are their own worst enemies, they don’t have a clue. Pathetic!"
Go deeperArrowOct 1, 2019

The state of play in the manufacturing trade war

Data: Caixin, Institute of Supply Management; Chart: Axios Visuals

The manufacturing sectors of the U.S. and China are moving in opposite directions, and data released Monday shows the gap is widening.

On one side: China's Caixin purchasing managers' index, a private survey of the country’s manufacturing activity, had its strongest reading since February 2018. The improvement was driven largely by increased domestic demand, which has picked up as foreign sales continue to sink because of the trade war.

Go deeperArrowOct 1, 2019

The eurozone economy is getting worse

Data: Investing.com; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and a spate of data releases from IHS Markit on Monday painted an incredibly somber picture of the economic situation in the eurozone.

Why it matters: The eurozone looks like it's headed for recession, if it isn't in one right now. And, as Draghi pointed out, there's little on the horizon that gives much hope for the future.

Go deeperArrowSep 24, 2019