The US manufacturing sector contracted for the fifth consecutive month in March, according to the latest data released by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The ISM manufacturing index dropped to 46.3 in March, down from 47.7 in February, and below analysts’ expectations of 47.5. This marks the lowest level since May 2020.
The index remained below the critical 50 level, indicating a contraction in the US manufacturing sector. The index was primarily impacted by the contraction in new orders and employment.
The ISM report also revealed that the production index fell by 2.5% to 50.8, while the employment index dropped by 4.4% to 44.5. Additionally, the new orders index contracted by 1.6% to 51.6.
The manufacturing sector, which is an essential part of the US economy, has been struggling due to supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and rising raw material costs. These factors have led to a decline in manufacturing activity and have hampered the sector’s recovery from the pandemic.