The prolonged trade war between the United States and China is taking a toll on the manufacturing sector, which contracted for the first time since 2009, data show.
The Washington Post reported that the U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.9 in August from 50.4 in July, according to IHS Markit. It is the first time the closely watched indicator has fallen below 50 since September 2009.
The decline is a sign that manufacturers are starting to feel the effects of the ongoing trade war. Sales of U.S. exports decreased at the fastest pace since August 2009, according to the report. When exports fall, manufacturers typically respond by reducing inventories and cutting production. Over time, that gloominess could lead manufacturers to trim jobs.
“Manufacturing companies continued to feel the impact of slowing global economic conditions,” Tim Moore, associate director of economics for IHS Markit said in a statement. “The continued slide in corporate growth projections suggests that firms may exert greater caution in relation to spending, investment and staff hiring during the coming months.”
The PMI index is based on a survey of manufacturers about production, output, orders, inventory, pricing and other factors. A score below 50 on the index signifies that the sector is contracting.
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