Manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly shrank in June for the first time in almost three years, indicating a mainstay of the expansion may be faltering.
The Institute for Supply Management’s index fell to 49.7, worse than the most-pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, from 53.5 in May, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s report showed today. Figures less than 50 signal contraction. Measures of orders, production and export demand dropped to three-year lows.
Assembly lines may be slowing as consumers temper purchases of vehicles and other goods and companies limit investments in new equipment. At the same time, export markets for manufacturers like DuPont Co. (DD) and Steelcase Inc. (SCS) are finding it more difficult as Europe struggles with a debt crisis and Asian economies including China weaken.
“Manufacturing is gearing down,” said Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro Research LLC in New York, whose 50.5 forecast was the lowest in the Bloomberg survey. “It’s consistent with the idea that the uncertainty is weighing on businesses.