US factory activity surges last month to highest since 2004 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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US factory activity surges last month to highest since 2004

In this Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, photo, employee Maria Edney moves an automated teller machine during the manufacturing process at Diebold Nixdorf in Greensboro, N.C. On Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, the Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for September. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
October 02, 2017 - 12:16 PM

WASHINGTON - U.S. factory activity rose to the highest level in 13 years last month as hurricanes disrupted supplies but drove up demand for manufactured goods.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said its September manufacturing index rose to 60.8 from 58.8 in August, the highest reading since May 2004. Anything above 50 signals that manufacturers are growing, and the ISM survey shows they've been on a 13-month winning streak.

New orders, production, hiring and new export orders all grew faster in September.

Seventeen of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth, led by textile mills and machinery. Only one industry — furniture manufacturing — contracted last month.

Factories are benefiting from a strengthening global economy and a drop this year in the value of the U.S. dollar against other major currencies. A weaker dollar makes U.S. products less expensive in foreign markets.

Some industries reported that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma had disrupted supplies and driven up costs.

Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM's manufacturing survey committee, said the scramble for supplies for rebuilding in the aftermath of the hurricanes may have driven manufacturing activity higher in September. Factories, he said, "are really struggling to meet demand."

The overall U.S. economy expanded at a 3.1 per cent annual pace from April through June, fastest rate in more than two years. Unemployment, at 4.4 per cent, is near a 16-year low.


This extended headline on this story has been corrected to show that the index was highest since May 2004, not September 2004.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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