Another sign the “recovery” is slipping away:
Manufacturing shrank at its sharpest clip in more than three years last month, while separate data showed exports and hiring in the sector slumped in another shot to the country’s struggling economy.
August was the third month in a row of contraction in manufacturing, and firms in the sector hired the fewest workers since late 2009, according to an Institute for Supply Management survey on Tuesday.
It wasn’t so long ago — January — that the New York Times was singing manufacturing’s praises:
For the first time in many years, manufacturing stands out as an area of strength in the American economy.
When the Labor Department reports December employment numbers on Friday, it is expected that manufacturing companies will have added jobs in two consecutive years. Until last year, there had not been a single year when manufacturing employment rose since 1997.
The problem, of course, is that investing in plants to make batteries for cars no one wants to buy and similar such government-finagled malinvestments can take an economy only so far. The plan, near as I can figure, is that “so far” was to extend to November 7.