Sunday, Dec 28, 2008
Manufacturing in the U.S. probably shrank at the fastest pace since 1980 as the deepening global recession forced customers in North America, Europe and Asia to cut back, economists said before reports this week.
The Institute for Supply Management’s December factory index dropped to 35.4, the lowest reading in almost three decades, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. A separate report may show the record drop in home prices accelerated in October.
The real-estate crash has reverberated throughout the world as credit markets seized up, choking off demand for everything from cars and trucks to computers and appliances. President- elect Barack Obama, who takes office Jan. 20, has said his first priority will be to pass an economic stimulus plan that will invest in public works and create or save 3 million jobs.
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“Manufacturing is getting it from every direction,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc. in New York. “Domestic demand is falling apart and foreign demand is falling apart.”
The Tempe, Arizona-based ISM’s factory report is due Jan. 2. Readings below 50 indicate contraction.
Regional surveys have already signaled the manufacturing slump persisted this month. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index fell in December to the lowest level since records began in 2001, and the Philadelphia Fed’s index showed industries in that region contracted for the 12th time in 13 months.