US manufacturing grew in May – but more slowly than the previous month due to declining production and weaker hiring rates.
The good news is that new orders rose to a 13-month high, suggesting factory activity will pick up this month.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reported its index of manufacturing activity fell to 53.5 in May, down from a reading of 54.8 in April. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Slower manufacturing growth followed a disappointing report on May employment that suggests the economy has weakened.
The Labor Department said employers created 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year. The unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 per cent from 8.1 per cent in April.
An employment gauge in the ISM's survey slipped from April's level, but showed factories were hiring at a solid pace. Industries reporting growth in May employment included clothing and leather, metals and mineral products.
The Labor Department's employment report showed factories added 12,000 jobs in May.
An ISM gauge of new orders rose to 60.1, the highest since April 2011. That could signal faster production ahead.