May 1 (UPI) — U.S. manufacturing fell to its lowest level in 11 years last month, disrupted significantly by the coronavirus crisis, a new industry report showed Friday.
The Institute for Supply Management said its April manufacturing index, which is based on data from purchasing and supply executives in the United States, tumbled to 41.5 percent after a reading of 49.1 in March. A figure below 50 percent represents a contraction.
The decline, however, was not as steep as many analysts had expected. Most projected the index to fall to about 35 percent.
Many of the top manufacturing indices showed significant losses. The new orders index was 27.1 percent, a decrease of more than 15 points. The production index fell 20 points and the backlog index lost 8 points.
“Comments from the panel were strongly negative regarding the near-term outlook, with sentiment clearly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and continuing energy market recession,” Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said in a statement.
“The [manufacturing index] indicates a level of manufacturing-sector contraction not seen since April 2009, with a strongly negative trajectory.”
The institute said 10 industries reported higher inventories in April — including wood, paper, textile mills, furniture, primary metals, petroleum and coal.