ISM: May U.S. manufacturing grows, but plummets from April levelsThe Institute for Supply Management (ISM) May report on the U.S. manufacturing sector was released on Wednesday, bringing with it a mixed bag of data.

According to the ISM, the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in May for the 22nd consecutive month, with the overall economy growing 24 consecutive month. In May, PMI, which measures manufacturing activity, hit 53.5 percent. While that figure shows an expansion, it represents a decrease of 6.9 percentage points from April 60.4 percent reading. What's more, the one-month drop from April was the biggest in nearly 30 years, Bloomberg reports.

ISM Chairman Bradley J. Holcomb said that the May PMI was the lowest level reported in six months, indicating that the torrid pace of growth the manufacturing sector has witnessed over the past few years could be stalling.

"This month's index ... registered 6.9 percentage points below the April reading of 60.4 percent, and is the first reading below 60 percent for 2011, as well as the lowest PMI reported for the past 12 months," Holcomb affirmed. "Slower growth in new orders and production are the primary contributors to this month's lower PMI reading."

Still, the report also states that manufacturing employment continues to show "good momentum for the year."
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