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Manufacturing at slowest pace so far in April

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index fell to 50.7 from the prior period’s 51.3, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said.

The Trucker News Services

5/2/2013

Manufacturing expanded in April but at the slowest pace so far this year, which could slow freight for truckers down the road.

Manufacturing, which makes up about 12 percent of the economy, is slowing as the need to rebuild inventories cools and federal budget cuts sink in, Bloomberg reported.

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index fell to 50.7 from the prior period’s 51.3, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said.

Fifty is the dividing line between growth and contraction. The ADP Research Institute said private payrolls rose 119,000 last month, the least since September, while another report showed construction waned in March.

Federal Reserve policy makers said they will continue to pursue record stimulus in an attempt to bolster the economy and job market.

“Manufacturing is stalling a bit,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics Ltd. in Valhalla, New York. “Hiring has probably slowed a little. For the Fed, it’s going to be full speed ahead.”

In China, the world’s second-largest economy, factories expanded at a weaker pace in April as well. The Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 50.6 last month from 50.9.

The ISM’s inventory index decreased to a four-month low while a gauge of customer stockpiles dropped to the weakest level since November.

 The Labor Department is projected to report on May 3 that employment, including government agencies, climbed 145,000 last month after an 88,000 increase in March. Factory payrolls are forecast to rise 5,000 after dropping 3,000, according to a Bloomberg survey. The jobless rate is projected to hold at 7.6 percent.

Construction spending fell 1.7 percent in March, reflecting the biggest slump in government projects in 11 years, according to a report from the Commerce Department. The 4.1 percent decline in taxpayer-funded projects swamped a gain in homebuilding.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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