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U.S. manufacturing grows at its lowest level all year this month

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 22nd, 2012
Catholic Online (

Things are tough as usual across the United States. Manufacturing creeped along at its slowest pace in 11 months for the month of June. An industry survey found that overseas demand for U.S. products have waned, with weaker demand from Europe and large emerging markets such as China dented sales.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Adding to the economic malaise was the statistic that Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits was little changed last week, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

For the second straight month, financial information firm Markit said U.S. manufacturers reported that the second largest decline in new export orders since September 2009.

Markit reported that weaker overseas demand may be starting to slow hiring in the sector. Manufacturing has previously been one of the strongest links in an otherwise frail U.S. economic recovery.

The employment component fell in June to 53.1, reflecting the weakest rate of hiring in eight months.

"The impact of weak sales on employment is a key concern," Markit chief economist Chris Williamson says. "The close fit of the survey data with non-farm payroll number suggests that the official (employment) data for June will show a further weakening of the labor market."

Exacerbating matters was the fact that unemployment rate rose for the first time in nearly a year, and job growth in the United States slowed sharply for a third consecutive month in May.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits remains relatively unchanged last week, according to government data that suggested the labor market was struggling to regain momentum.

The Labor Department reports that initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 387,000. The prior week's figure was revised up to 389,000 from the previously reported 386,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 380,000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, increased 3,500 to 386,250 - the highest level since early December.

The "flash," or preliminary reading, is based on replies from about 85 percent of the U.S. manufacturers surveyed. Markit's final reading will be released on the first business day of the following month.


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