Business

US manufacturing picks up pace in May

A Brooklyn manufacturer Image copyright Getty Images

US manufacturing picked up pace in May for the first time in six months, a survey has shown.

An index compiled for the Institute for Supply Management, which represents purchasing managers, rose to 52.8 in May, up from 51.5 in April, providing hope that growth is rebounding from a first-quarter slump.

Anything above 50 indicates expansion.

Less encouraging were figures showing consumer spending, a large driver of the US economy, was unchanged in April.

That compares to a 0.5% increase in March.

Stagnant consumer spending is one reason that the US manufacturing sector has stalled, and only grown slightly in the past few months. Manufacturers usually lags consumer spending, as firms wait to boost production in the wake of spending by consumers.

"The April income and spending figures are another reminder that even though their incomes are rising at a healthy pace, households are still reluctant to boost spending more freely,'' said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at BMO Capital Markets.

However personal income numbers were better - rising by 0.4% in April.

As well as the improved manufacturing report, construction spending also increased in April to a near six-and-a-half year high. It jumped 2.2% to an annual rate of $1.0 trn, the highest level since November 2008.

Monday's figures follow a sharp downward revision to first quarter growth last week, which showed the US economy shrinking by 0.7% in the first three months of the year.

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