Two key October reports today sent a mixed message with the US economy adding more jobs than expected, even as US Manufacturing continued to slow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobs report showed 128,000 jobs, well above economists’ estimates of ~85,000, despite the General Motors’ strike which resulted in the loss of 36,000 manufacturing jobs. The employment figures for the previous two months were also revised upward in the report.
At the same time, the Institute of Supply Management’s (ISM) PMI Index came in below estimates at 48.3, an improvement of half a point from the previous month, but still indicative of contraction (a reading above 50.0 indicates growth). Once again, ISM indicated that “global trade remains the most significant cross-industry issue.” Nevertheless, New Export Orders were up 9.4 points, more than any other segment, to register 50.4 making it the only measure over 50.0 for the month.