US manufacturing activity softens, COVID-19 resurgence hits workers
US manufacturing activity slowed in November as a resurging coronavirus spread hit the nation, forcing workers to stay at home and shutting down factories temporarily.
The Institute for Supply Management’s index of national factory activity fell to a 57.5 reading in November from a 59.3 previous outing, the highest since November 2018. The manufacturing activity accounts for 11.3% of the US economy. The recent manufacturing output level is worse than the Reuters forecast of a 58.0 reading for November.
Several manufacturing industries reported expansion in November including machinery and transportation equipment and wood products. Meanwhile, some industries reported contraction including coal products, printing, and petroleum.
The Commerce Department reported on Tuesday showed a massive increase in construction spending in October.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq soared and hit record-highs, riding on hopes that a COVID-19 vaccine would be made available soon. The dollar fell to a 2-1/2-year low against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices were lower.