Manufacturing growth slows

ISM survey shows September growth below forecasts.

NEW YORK ( -- The pace of manufacturing growth slowed in September, according to a closely watched survey of executives in the sector that came in weaker than Wall Street expectations Monday.

The Institute of Supply Management's manufacturing index came in at 52 in the month, down from the 52.9 reading for August. Any reading above 50 indicates growth in the sector.


Economists surveyed by had forecast the ISM index would slip to 52.5 in the latest reading. The report is one of the first economic readings available for September.

The survey took one of the bigger hits from a slowdown in new orders, as that subindex fell to 53.4 from 55.3. Part of that decline could be because of weaker new export orders, despite the weakness of the dollar that makes U.S. goods more competitive in foreign markets. The export subindex fell to 54.5 from 57.0.

The softer orders led manufacturers to scale back on the level of production, as that reading fell to 54.6 from 56.

But there was some good news in the report as well, as the employment reading edged up slightly to 51.7 from 51.3, while the backlog of orders measure also gained, reaching 51.0 from 50.5.

The state of manufacturing is one of the factors that could be weighed by the Federal Reserve when it meets at the end of October to decide whether to cut interest rates once again.

The index could give a green light to the Fed to cut, as price pressures on businesses retreated. The prices paid component fell to 59 from 63, as those paying a lower price for their materials jumped to 12 percent of those surveyed from 7 percent in August, while those who answered they paid more fell to 30 percent from 33 percent. Top of page