U.S. Manufacturing Growth Is Slowest In 13 Months

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With labor issues at West Coast ports continuing to cause problems for exporters, the Institute for Supply Management released a report on Monday showing that U.S. manufacturing activity growth slipped to its lowest in more than a year.

The ISM said its purchasing managers index fell to 52.9 in February from 53.5 in January, its worst reading in 13 months.

While a reading above 50 indicates continued growth in the manufacturing sector, economists had expected the index to show a more modest drop to 52.8.

The New Orders Index registered 52.5 percent, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point from the reading of 52.9 percent in January.

More ominously, the Employment Index registered 51.4 percent, 2.7 percentage points below the January reading of 54.1 percent.

12 of 18 manufacturing industries reported some growth, but textile and apparel makers reported contraction.

"West Coast port congestion and work slowdowns by the union is hurting our imports and exports, getting worse by the week," one respondent in the miscellaneous manufacturing sector told ISM.

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