Bearish data suggests recovery in US will be an uphill struggle

Ben Southwood
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THE US economy is stuck a rut, with sluggish growth and only slow improvement in employment, a tranche of data releases showed yesterday.

Manufacturing expanded slowly in September, holding steady at 51.5 on Markit’s purchasing managers’ index. This makes the third quarter, on average, the worst since 2009.

Philly Fed data also pointed to a gloomy climate for manufacturing – although its index improved from minus 7.1 in August to minus 1.9 in September, this still indicates decline in the sector.

And though initial jobless benefit claims were down 3,000, according to the Department of Labor’s weekly data, this marks only a slow retreat in the figures. The unadjusted measure actually jolted up 28,068.

And future growth looks just as unimpressive, at least on the Conference Board’s leading economic index, which edged down 0.1 per cent to 95.7.