Thursday, May 7, 2015Thursday, May 7, 2015

US factory activity slows, construction spending up

Published on Jun 2, 2014 10:56 PM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US manufacturing activity slowed last month and construction spending rose less than expected in April, which could temper hopes of a sharp pick-up in economic growth this quarter.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) on Monday said its index of national factory activity fell to 53.2 in May from April's reading of 54.9. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. The slowdown reflected some cooling in new order growth, production and hiring.

"It looks softer across the board. All the components grew at a slower pace. I don't think this signifies a big concern but manufacturing won't be leading the economy," said Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh.

In a separate report, the Commerce Department said construction spending increased 0.2 per cent to an annual rate of US$953.5 billion, the highest level since March 2009.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!