U.S. Manufacturing Grows for First Time in 4 Months

manufacturingBy CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON -- U.S. manufacturing grew for the first time in four months, buoyed by a jump in new orders. The increase was a hopeful sign that the economy is improving.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its index of factory activity rose to 51.5. That's up from 49.6 in August.

A reading above 50 signals growth and below indicates contraction. The index had been below that threshold from June through August.

Stocks increased their gains after the report was released. The Dow Jones industrial average had been up roughly 100 points before the report came out. It jumped to 150 points up within 10 minutes of the release.

A measure of employment also increased, suggesting manufacturers added workers last month.

The increase could signal that manufacturing is picking up after a weakening this spring because of declining consumer demand and a drop in exports.

The improvement in the United States comes even as growth is slowing overseas. Europe's financial crisis has pushed many countries in the region into recession. Growth in emerging nations such as China and India has slowed.

China's manufacturing sector shrank in September, according to a survey by a Chinese trade group. But its measure of factory activity rose for the first time in four months, to 49.8, from 49.2.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.3 percent in the April-June quarter, down from a 2 percent growth rate in the January-March quarter.

Most economists expect growth will stay near or below 2 percent for the rest of this year. Growth at that pace is typically too weak to lower the unemployment rate.

Employers added 96,000 jobs in August, lower than July's total and far below the average of 226,000 a month in the first three months of the year. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July. But that was only because fewer people were looking for work. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching for jobs.

The government will release the September employment report on Friday.


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16 Comments

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Michael LaBombard

I still think they are forcing these people to make the numbers up.

October 07 2012 at 6:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chris1011

Most of the economic growth periods of the past 70 years have been the result of new technologies discovered in he course of some large government effort (winning WWII, winning the Cold War space and arms races, exploring the sea bottom, mapping the human genome, etc.) Private sector "job creators" won't do it, preferring to make short term profits by drilling holes in the Earth to look for fuel for 200-year old technology or cutting down forests to stick build houses people can't afford using prehistoric technology.

In the absence of vigorous, public-funded pure science research our modern economy declines into...well, just take a look at today's financial news.

October 03 2012 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
themomsupreme

I totally disagree with the beer sales being a good indicator on the economy. I think the opposite is true. People generally turn to drugs and alcohol to escape reality. Also, the increase in Dollar General is another indicator that people are turning to much cheaper prices.

October 03 2012 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cindy8556

Maybe stores are ordering things for Christmas? Doesn't manufacturing and employment pick up around this time because of the holidays????

October 01 2012 at 5:14 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
cindy8556

Maybe stores are ordering things for Christmas? Doesn't manufacturing and employment pick up around this time because of the holidays????

October 01 2012 at 5:14 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
cpo1514

WASHINGTON -- U.S. manufacturing grew for the first time in four months, buoyed by a jump in new orders. The increase was a hopeful sign that the economy is improving.

PLEASE... could also mean that things break and cannot be repaired.... must be replaced (like the WH Occupant?)

October 01 2012 at 3:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cpo1514

WASHINGTON -- U.S. manufacturing grew for the first time in four months, buoyed by a jump in new orders. The increase was a hopeful sign that the economy is improving.

PLEASE... could also mean that things break and cannot be repaired.... must be replaced (like Obama/)

October 01 2012 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cpo1514

WASHINGTON -- U.S. manufacturing grew for the first time in four months, buoyed by a jump in new orders. The increase was a hopeful sign that the economy is improving.

PLEASE... could also mean that things break and cannot be repaired.... must be replaced (like Obama/)

October 01 2012 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
captmerit

right

October 01 2012 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
coochiescooter

I don't believe the liberal media.

October 01 2012 at 2:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to coochiescooter's comment
thedukeoforange2

Go back then inside your little bubble.

October 01 2012 at 5:52 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to thedukeoforange2's comment
docmetcalf1955

shut up stupid

October 01 2012 at 10:12 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down
docmetcalf1955

shut up stupid

October 01 2012 at 10:12 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down