WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory activity expanded at a slower rate in July, as measures of production and employment fell.
The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Thursday that its manufacturing index slipped to 51.2 last month from 51.7 in June. Any reading above 50 signals an expansion.
Although it was the 35th straight month of growth in manufacturing, it was the fourth month in a row that the pace of growth slowed.
Trade fights with China, Europe and Mexico and a stronger dollar have hurt U.S. exports and put American manufacturers on edge.
New orders ticked up slightly in July after a flat reading in June.
Inventories grew but are still in contraction territory, a sign manufacturers are concerned that demand could slow further.