Thursday, 2 October 2008

US economy looking gloomy too

Thursday was the US economy's turn to look gloomy. From Bloomberg:

Manufacturing in the U.S. contracted in September at the fastest pace since the last recession as the credit crisis spread beyond Wall Street.

The Institute for Supply Management's factory index dropped to 43.5, the lowest level since October 2001...

Other reports today signaled the U.S. continues to lose jobs. ADP Employer Services said companies in the U.S. cut an estimated 8,000 workers from payrolls in September after a 37,000 decrease in August, according to figures based on payroll data...

Firing announcements increased 33 percent in September from that same month last year, Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said in a statement.

The Commerce Department also reported that construction spending stalled in August after a revised 1.4 percent drop the previous month that was more than twice as large as previously estimated. Private residential building increased for the first time since March 2007 and work on commercial projects fell for a fourth month.

Morgan Stanley's Richard Berner says that "the issue now is not whether a recession is likely, but how deep it will be and how long it will last".

And perhaps how widespread too. Europe is not faring any better, as Bloomberg reports.

European manufacturing contracted more than initially estimated and unemployment rose to the highest in a year as the deepening credit crisis slowed growth.

Markit Economics's manufacturing index dropped to 45 in September from 47.6 in August, lower than the 45.3 published on Sept. 23. Unemployment in the euro region rose to 7.5 percent in August, the highest since April 2007, from a revised 7.4 percent in July, according to a separate report.

And in the UK, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply/Markit PMI fell to 41.0 in September from a downwardly revised 45.3 in August.

China bucked the trend in manufacturing though. The official CFLP PMI rose to 51.2 in September from 48.4 in August.

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