09/24/2021

U.S. manufacturing activity hits 13-year high; construction spending up

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A measure of U.S. manufacturing activity surged to a near 13-1/2-year high in September as disruptions to the supply chains caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma resulted in factories taking longer to deliver goods and boosted raw material prices.

Still, details of the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) survey on Monday underscored the economy’s underlying momentum, with factories reporting stronger order growth last month. A measure of factory employment hit its highest level since 2011.

“Much of the gain is presumably linked to the aftereffects of the hurricanes. Nonetheless, manufacturing growth is strong,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

ISM said its index of national factory activity surged to a reading of 60.8 last month, the highest reading since May 2004, from 58.8 in August. A reading above 50 in the ISM index indicates an expansion in manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy.

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