Why U.S. manufacturing buckled in April

By Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press | May 1, 2020 | Last updated on May 1, 2020
1 min read
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U.S. manufacturing retreated again in April, a victim of economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported Friday that its manufacturing index dropped to 41.5 last month from 49.1 in March. Anything below 50 signals contraction.

The news was bad across the board: production, new orders, hiring and export orders all fell faster in April than they did in March.

Economists had expected an even bigger drop.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the quarantines, travel restrictions and business closings imposed to combat it have hammered global manufacturers, disrupting their access to supplies and crushing demand for their products.

Economists had expected an even bigger drop.

Manufacturing was hurting even before the outbreak brought the economy to a near-standstill in March. The ISM manufacturing index has fallen seven of the last nine months. President Donald Trump’s trade war with China had raised costs and created uncertainty that paralyzed investment decisions.

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Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press

Paul Wiseman is a reporter with The Associated Press,  an American not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City and founded in 1846.