Manufacturing index at 28-year low

Purchasing managers' report shows that December activity is contracting, remains recessionary.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all RSS FEEDS (close)
By Aaron Smith, staff writer

What was the biggest business news story of 2008?
  • Auto industry meltdown
  • Bailout of Wall Street
  • Foreclosure storm
  • Oil price's wild ride
  • Stock market meltdown
  • It's official: U.S. in recession

NEW YORK ( -- A key index of the nation's manufacturing activity fell to a 28-year low in December, according to a report released Friday.

The Institute for Supply Management, a purchasing management group based in Tempe, Ariz., said its manufacturing index was 32.4 for December. That's the lowest reading since June 1980, when it stood at 30.3.

An index of 35.4 was expected for December, according to a consensus of economist opinions provided by That's down from November, when the index was 36.2.

"Manufacturing activity continued to decline at a rapid rate during the month of December," said Norbert Ore, chair of the ISM's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, in a press release. "The decline covers the full breadth of manufacturing industries, as none of the industries in the sector report growth at this time."

Manufacturing activity failed to grow for the fifth consecutive month, according to the ISM, while the overall economy contracted for the third month running.

An index reading above 50 indicates growth, while a reading below 50 indicates a slowdown. A reading below 41 is typically associated with recession in the broader economy.

The ISM report is a national survey of purchasing managers in the manufacturing sector. The monthly survey tracks new orders, production, employment, deliveries, inventories and other aspects of the sector.

New orders have experienced the lengthiest contraction thus far - 13 months - and plunged to 22.7 in December from 27.9 the prior month. Ore said this is the lowest figure since January 1948.

Production fell to 25.5 from 31.5, in its fourth month of declines. Employment fell to 29.9 from 34.2, in its fifth month of declines. To top of page

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.