Economic Report: U.S. factories grow at slowest pace in two years, ISM finds. New orders fall again in bad omen

by | Aug 1, 2022 | Stock Market

The numbers: A key barometer of American factories fell to a 25-month low of 52.8% in July in a sign of creeping weakness in the U.S. economy. The good news? Inflation pressures eased. The Institute for Supply Management’s closely followed manufacturing gauge dipped from 53% in June, in no small part due to another decline in new orders.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast the index to total 52.1%. The closely followed report is viewed as a window into the health of the U.S. economy. While any number above 50% signifies growth, the latest reading was the weakest since June 2020. The index has also declined three months in a row for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. The silver lining in the report was some relief from inflation. Companies are still paying higher prices for supplies, but a gauge of inflation sank to a nearly two-year low. It will take some time before the economy begins to benefit, however. The rate of inflation has jumped 9.1% in the past year, according to a popular index that tracks the cost of living. Problems getting supplies also continued to clear up. Supply shortages have played a big role in the worst U.S. outbreak of inflation in almost 41 years. Big picture: The U.S. economy has slowed since the end of last year due to soaring inflation, rising interest rates and the end of government stimulus. Gross domestic product, the official scorecard for the economy, has fallen two quarters in a row, meeting an old but informal definition o …

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