clear
Tuesday July 7th, 2015 9:21AM

US factories expanded at much slower pace in Jan.

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. manufacturing barely expanded last month as cold weather delayed shipments of raw materials and caused some factories to shut down.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to 51.3 in January from 56.5 in December. It was the lowest reading since May, though any reading above 50 signals growth. Manufacturers said export orders grew at a healthy pace but slightly less than in the previous month.

The figures suggest that U.S. manufacturing is slowing after a strong finish to last year. Auto sales have decelerated, and businesses are spending cautiously on machinery and other large factory goods. The slowdown means that economic growth in the first three months of this year may be less than the strong 3.6 percent annual pace in the second half of 2013.

In addition, China's factory output grew at a slower pace in January, a government report over the weekend showed. That report added to concerns that the world's second-largest economy is weakening.

On the positive side, a measure of Europe's manufacturing sector showed that it expanded at the fastest pace in nearly three years.

Some economists cautioned against reading too much into Monday's report on U.S. manufacturing, given the weather impact. George Mokrzan, chief economist at Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bank, said there were some "very unusual shutdowns as a result of the cold weather" at auto plants and other factories.

"I'd be a little bit cautious about interpreting too much from this report," Mokrzan said. "If we don't get a bounce next month, I would start asking deeper questions."

Monday's report showed that a measure of new orders plummeted 13.2 points, the steepest drop in four years, to 51.2. A gauge of production also fell. Factories added jobs, the report showed, but at a slower pace.

Bradley Holcomb, chair of the ISM's survey committee, said cold weather affected the report in several ways. Factory closings led to lower output and caused manufacturers to receive fewer new orders. Stockpiles of raw materials also fell as trucking routes were closed and shipping was delayed.

Other recent indicators have painted a mixed picture of manufacturing.

Factory output rose for a fifth straight month in December, according to the Federal Reserve. Manufacturers cranked out more cars, trucks, appliances and processed food.

But businesses are still spending cautiously. Orders for machinery and other large factory goods fell in December.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 6 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 6 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 6 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 6 months ago )
Business News
Clarks Bridge Rd. shutdown, one residence evacuated with gas leak
A gas leak has shutdown Clarks Bridge Road near its intersection with Edgwater Drive, according to authorities.
9:08AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Hall Co. Commission to consider sign moratorium
It's a decision that didn't get nearly as much attention as Obamacare and same-sex marriage, but it's a Supreme Court decision that's having an impact on local governments, including Hall County.
7:00AM ( 2 hours ago )
Gwinnett man sentenced in shooting death of 23-month-old grandson
Gwinnett County prosecutors say a man has been sentenced in the shooting death of his 23-month-old grandson.
By Associated Press
5:31AM ( 3 hours ago )
Clarkesville selects design/build team for fire-damaged downtown
The Clarkesville City Council has decided who will perform design work and redevelop the fire-damaged east side of the Square.
9:44PM ( 11 hours ago )
Hall Co. Schools prepare for ESPLOST V
The Hall County School Board prepared for the upcoming ESPLOST referendum vote at their work session Monday afternoon.
7:00PM ( 14 hours ago )