Manufacturing index plummets in September
October 1, 2008
WASHINGTON -- A key measure of the nation's manufacturing
activity fell in September to a seven-year low, nearing a benchmark that
indicates a recession, a purchasing manager's group said Wednesday.
The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing
index fell to 43.5 in September, down from the August reading of 49.9.
Economists were expecting a reading of 49.5, according to a consensus estimate
compiled by Briefing.com.
The tipping point for the index is 50, with a reading below
that indicating contraction in factory activity. A reading below 41 marks a
recession. The index has hovered around the 50 mark for the past 12 months,
with an average of 49.6.
One of the key components of the index, new orders,
contracted sharply, falling to 38.8 from 48.3 the month before. That marked the
10th straight month of decline in that sector.
In what could be a portent of Friday's September employment
report, ISM's employment indicator tumbled to 41.8 from 49.7, marking the
second month of decline in the sector.
Economists from Briefing.com expect job losses to spike to
105,000 in September and for the unemployment rate to remain steady at
ISM's production measure contracted sharply in September to
40.8 from its prior reading of 52.1.