Manufacturers report declining output
WASHINGTON — U.S. manufacturing output deteriorated for the fourth consecutive month, damaged by trade conflicts and a weakening global economy.
The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said today that its manufacturing index dipped to 48.1 last month from 48.3 in October. Anything below 50 signals contraction. U.S. factories have been on a losing streak since August.
New orders, production and hiring all dropped for the fourth straight month. Export orders fell in November after rising in October.
Economists had expected the overall November index to rebound but remain below 50.
President Donald Trump has imposed import taxes on foreign steel, aluminum and thousands of goods from China. Businesses have been reluctant to invest until they have a clearer idea whether, when and how the trade conflicts will end.
U.S. construction spending falls
WASHINGTON — Spending on U.S. construction projects fell 0.8% in October, dragged down by declines in apartment and multi-family homebuilding.
Private construction spending declined 1% in October, the Commerce Department said Monday. That follows another significant 1.1% decline in September.
Overall private residential construction dipped 0.9%, with multifamily projects declining 1.6% in October after a 2.1% decline in September.
Spending on single-family home construction increased 1.6%, helping to offset some of the losses elsewhere in the private construction category during the month.
October’s overall decline follows a downward revision of September’s number from a 0.5% increase to a 0.3% decline.
During the first 10 months of 2019, overall construction after adjusting for seasonal variations came in at an annual rate of $1.09 trillion in October, down 1.7% from a year ago.
WTO chides EU over Airbus subsidies
GENEVA — A World Trade Organization panel ruled Monday that the European Union has not complied with an order to end illegal subsidies for plane maker Airbus, which prompted the Trump administration to impose tariffs on nearly $7.5 billion worth of EU goods in October.
In its ruling, a WTO compliance panel found that the EU had not taken sufficient steps to end harm to Boeing, the major rival to Europe’s Airbus. The EU is expected to appeal, though the United States.
“Strong action is needed to convince the EU that its interests lie in eliminating these market-distorting subsidies now and in the future, so that our industries can compete on a level playing field,’’ U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.