U.S. manufacturing activity fell short of expectations in October with a gauge of new orders easing to its lowest level since April 2017.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity dropped 2.1 percentage points to 57.7 last month from 59.8 in September. A reading above 50 indicates growth in manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy.
Economists polled by Refinitiv expected the ISM manufacturing index to hit 59 in October. An index tracking new orders registered 57.4 percent, a decrease of 4.4 percentage points from the September reading of 61.8 percent.
"Demand remains moderately strong, with the New Orders Index easing to below 60 percent for the first time since April 2017, the Customers' Inventories Index remaining low but improving, and the Backlog of Orders Index remaining steady," Timothy Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said in a press release. "Consumption softened, with production and employment continuing to expand, but at lower levels compared to September."