A report released Monday by the Institute for Supply Management is not good news for regional economies with a large manufacturing base.
The institute reported that manufacturing in the U.S. contracted in October at the fastest rate in 26 years. The factory index fell from 38.9 from 43.5 in September, with 50 the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
Tighter credit access and struggling foreign economies unable to import as many U.S. manufactured products were cited as key reasons behind the contraction.
In the Fort Smith region, Whirlpool and Rheem have announced job and production cuts. Both companies cited the struggling housing market as a key reason for a lack of demand for refrigerators and air-conditioning systems.
Consumer spending, which fell in the third quarter by 3.1 percent, the biggest decline in 28 years, isn’t helping. General Motors reported Monday (3 NOV) that sales of cars and light trucks fell 45 percent in October from a year earlier.