America .. Manufacturing activity records a sudden increase

Manufacturing activity in the US rose unexpectedly in August, but a measure of factory employment fell to a nine-month low, likely due to persistent labor shortages.

The Institute for Supply Management said on Wednesday that its factory activity index in the world’s largest economy rose to 59.9 last month from a reading of 59.5 in July.

A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in the manufacturing sector, which makes up 11.9% of the US economy. Economists interviewed by Reuters had expected the index to drop to 58.6.

The manufacturing sector is holding up even as spending shifts from goods to services in light of the COVID-19 vaccine campaign. But the lack of manpower and materials prime, in particularly of semiconductors, continues to hold back the activity of the sector.

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