U.S. manufacturing declined at its sharpest rate in three years in August and construction spending decreased across the board in July, according to reports released by The Institute for Supply Management and the Commerce Department, respectively.
The reports come on the day the Democratic National Convention convenes and may be strong signals that the August jobs report that will be released on Friday, the morning after President Barack Obama addresses the DNC, will be disappointing.
According to The Institute for Supply Management, the index of national factory activity fell to 49.6 in August from 49.8 in July, and a reading below 50 indicates contraction in the manufacturing sector.
Furthermore, the index’s employment component was at its lowest since November of 2009 and the “new orders” index fell to its lowest point since April of 2009.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, construction spending fell in the private and public sectors, dropping 0.9 percent to the lowest level since April.
Even worse, construction spending fell across the board in July:
Private construction dropped 1.2 percent.
Private nonresidential construction spending slipped 0.9 percent
Outlays on Residential projects dropped 1.6 percent.
Spending on public sector construction dipped 0.4 percent.
Outlays on federal government projects fell 1.3 percent.
Spending on state and local government projects dropped by 0.3 percent.
These numbers reflect a struggling economy and why Obama is running on anything but his economy. They also explain why Obama’s surrogates have had trouble answering whether Americans are better off today than they were four years ago.
Photo credit: Dean Jeffrey