US Factory Growth Seen "Marginal" in 2008: ISM


U.S. manufacturing will see only "marginal" growth this year, according to an industry survey released Tuesday highlighting the difficulties facing the U.S. economy.


The Institute for Supply Management said its semiannual survey of purchasing and supply executives delivered a sharp downgrade to expectations for revenues, which they saw rising by just 1 percent this year.

That was a steep fall from the survey in December last year, which predicted a 6.8 percent increase in 2008 revenues.

"On average, respondents are concerned about their organizations' prospects for 2008," Norbert Ore, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, was quoted as saying in a statement.

ISM said capital investment would increase by 1 percent in 2008 and capacity utilization would be 78.6 percent in the factory sector this year, down from 82.9 percent in December 2007.

It said the non-manufacturing sector would see "sustainable" growth in 2008, with revenue up 2.7 percent, but capital investment was expected to fall 2.7 percent. Capacity utilization in the service sector was seen at 85.9 percent, against 86.4 percent in December 2007.

The service sector represents about 80 percent of U.S. economic activity, including businesses such as banks, airlines, hotels and restaurants.

The ISM forecasts follow its most recent monthly surveys, which showed U.S. manufacturing contracted for a third consecutive month in April while services grew for the first time this year.