Last week’s U.S. economic reports mostly underwhelmed as the Institute for Supply Management’s reading on manufacturing PMI dropped into negative territory (49.1), the U.S. trade deficit was wider than expected (-$54 billion), and the jobs report for August missed expectations (nonfarm payrolls +130,000 vs. consensus forecast of +160-170k).
As for the manufacturing PMI report, “Respondents expressed slightly more concern about U.S.-China trade turbulence, but trade remains the most significant issue, indicated by the strong contraction in new export orders. Respondents continued to note supply chain adjustments as a result of moving manufacturing from China. Overall, sentiment this month declined and reached its lowest level in 2019," according to Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
Here’s what some of the survey respondents had to say:
- "Seeing some relief in the availability of electronic components in the marketplace, but there are still pockets of short supply, allocation, long lead times and the like. Tariffs continue to be a strain on the supply chain and the economy overall." (Computer & Electronic Products)
- "While business is strong, there is an undercurrent of fear and alarm regarding the trade wars and a potential recession." (Chemical Products)
- "Slowest month (July) this year so far in sales." (Transportation Equipment)
- "Slightly lower rate of incoming orders may be seasonal or a sign of a general slowdown. Monitoring closely." (Fabricated Metal Products)
- "Business is starting to show signs of a broad slowdown." (Machinery)
- "Generally, business remains steady. However, we continue to plan for a hard Brexit and a long trade war between the U.S. and China." (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)
- "The market for large building structures is slowing." (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)
- "Current business is OK, nothing to brag about. Under projections and slightly below last year, [but] margins are hanging in there." (Plastics & Rubber Products)
Source: Institute for Supply Management
As the WSJ’s Daily shot reports, the trend in U.S. nonfarm payrolls has been trending lower:
And the trend in U.S. manufacturing employment and global manufacturing PMI does not bode well: