Manufacturing Grows But Slows

AP News
February 01, 2021 - 10:19 am
FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2020 file photo, Zeida Hernandez, of Tampa, Fla., left, makes Factory Throwout cigars using an antique hand-operated cigar machine at the J.C. Newman Cigar Co., Tampa's last cigar factory, in Fla.

(Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)


By MATT OTT AP Business Reporter


SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — American factories grew in January, but at slower pace than December.

The Institute for Supply Management reported Monday that its gauge of manufacturing activity fell to 58.7% in January from 60.7% the previous month. The December reading was the index's highest since it stood at 60.8% in August 2018.

Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector. The January figure indicates expansion in the overall economy for the eighth straight month after contracting in March, April, and May.

The U.S. economy was broadsided by the coronavirus outbreak from April through June, but since then manufacturing has largely recovered. The services sector, which includes restaurants, bars and the travel industry, has been harder hit and is still struggling as people opt to stay home.