Nationwide manufacturing activity contracted in May, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM’s) manufacturing index, from 50.7 in April to 49.0 in May. The drop surprised economist whose consensus expectation was for an uptick to 51.0. New Orders, often a harbinger of future ISM readings, also dropped 3.5 points from 52.3 to 48.8. Only Inventories and Customers’ Inventories increased, another indication of weakening. It’s worth noting that recent Buffalo ISM index readings have run counter to the national index.