Manufacturing Continues Its Tentative Recovery

Manufacturing output continues to increase. Not by much, to be sure, but an increase none the less. For the third consecutive month, the purchasing managers’ index was above 50, the dividing line between expansion and contraction. May’s number was 53.1, down slightly from April’s 53.3, but May’s number is often lower than April’s and there has been some running down of inventories. Retail sales and fixed asset investment more than exports are behind the demand for manufactured goods, stimulus spending at work as roads, railways and airports start getting built. But the export component of the PMI moved above 50 for the first time in 11 months.

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