US manufacturing slows in January

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: US manufacturing growth slowed for the third straight month in January, hampered by lower commodity prices and the West Coast dock slowdown, the Institute for Supply Management reported Monday.

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The ISM manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to 53.5 from 55.1 in December, and below the 55.8 average for the past 12 months, despite many businesses citing strong consumer demand.

Most markers for the monthly PMI were slower: new orders, production, employment and deliveries.

Prices fell, reflecting not only the drop in oil prices but also those of most other key commodities.

Businesses polled for the survey said consumer demand was good, especially in the automotive sector and for food and beverages.

Overall 14 out of 18 industries said business continued to grow.

But respondents from the chemical, wood and paper products industries all said they were being hurt by the labor slowdown in the West Coast ports.

“West Coast port slowdown is getting serious. Mill has 40+ days of production at the ports and various warehouses,” one said.

AFP

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