Manufacturing Sector Begins to Slow Down
Manufacturing began to see a slowdown in March, but not on the scale originally anticipated, according to a recent article in Reuters. This is likely because the activity in manufacturing has not yet caught up to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic as shutdowns in the U.S. did not begin until the second or so week of March—but the readings are still drastic.
The index evaluating national factory activity, put out by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), fell from last month's 50.1 down to 49.1. Economists at Reuters predicted a much less severe drop due to the coronavirus outbreak, estimating the reading would fall at 45 instead.
Manufacturing accounts for about 11% of the U.S. economy, according to Reuters, so the rest of the national economy will begin to feel the repercussions in time. As more factories continue to shut down in order to practice social distancing, next month may see another big hit as federal social distancing guidelines have been extended through April 30.
—Christie Citranglo, editorial associate