The disappointing purchasing managers’ index number released by the Institute for Supply Management on Wednesday suggests that the rate expansion of American manufacturing has fallen back to the low level that prevailed before Trump was elected. The PMI of 52.8 means that 52.8% of survey respondents are expanding and the remainder are contracting. The consensus estimate for the manufacturing PMI was 55.
There was no disagreement among market commentators as to the source of weakness in manufacturing. Export and import trade both are contracting, with their respective indices below the 50% mark.