U.S. Manufacturing Sector Shrinks for Second Month

Washington, Rabi’I 24, 1437, Jan 4, 2016, SPA — The U.S. manufacturing sector shrank for the second consecutive month in December, as the impact of a stronger U.S. dollar hurt export profitability, an industry group reported Monday, suggesting only moderate economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of manufacturing activity fell to 48.2 from 48.6 in November and now is at its lowest level in more than six years. A reading above 50 reflects expansion in the sector, and a reading below 50 indicates contraction.
The ISM report also showed that factories cut jobs and new orders shrank. The employment index fell to 48.1 in December from 51.3 the previous month.
The data suggests the difficulties facing manufacturers in 2015—slow overseas growth, a strong dollar, and low oil prices—likely will continue into 2016.
The ISM report coincides with a survey that found that manufacturing in China contracted for a 10th consecutive month in December, the latest sign of slowing global economic growth.
U.S. stocks plunged in early trading Monday, reflecting renewed concerns about China’s troubles and Middle East tensions.

–SPA
21:08 LOCAL TIME 18:08 GMT