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U.S. Manufacturing Growth Unexpectedly Slows In April

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Growth in U.S. manufacturing activity unexpectedly slowed in the month of April, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Monday.

The ISM said its manufacturing PMI fell to 55.4 in April from 57.1 in March. While a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the sector, economists had expected the index to inch up to 57.6.

The unexpected decrease by the headline index came as the employment index slumped to 50.9 in April from 56.3 in March.

“In April, progress slowed in solving labor shortage problems at all tiers of the supply chain,” said Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

He added, “Panelists reported higher rates of quits compared to previous months, with fewer panelists reporting improvement in meeting head-count targets.”

The drop by the PMI also came as the new orders index edged down to 53.5 in April from 53.8 in March, while the production index dipped to 53.6 from 54.5.

The report showed the prices index also fell to 84.6 in April from 87.1 in March, indicating a slowdown in the pace of price growth.

On Wednesday, the ISM is scheduled to release a separate report on activity in the service sector in the month of April. The services PMI is currently expected to inch up to 58.9 in April from 58.3 in March.

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