TEMPE, Ariz., June 3 (UPI) -- U.S. manufacturing activity hovered near break-even in May, slipping from slight expansion to slight contraction in the month, a research firm reported Monday.
The Institute of Supply Management's monthly Purchasing Managers Index dropped from 50.7 to 49. The dividing line between contraction and expansion is 50.
In May, the index for new orders dropped from 52.3 to 48.8, while the production index went the other way, rising from 48.6 to 53.5. The employment index that measures the number of employees showed slower expansion, dropping from 50.2 to 50.1. Although right near the break even line, the index for employment remained positive for the 44th consecutive month, ISM said.
Although activity turned to an overall contraction, 10 of 18 business sectors in the country's manufacturing companies showed growth in the month.
The fastest growth was reported by printing companies, followed by nonmetallic mineral products, fabricated metal products, wood products, furniture; apparel, and food, beverage and tobacco products
Six industries reported contraction in May, led by miscellaneous manufacturing, transportation equipment, chemical products, plastics and rubber products, computer and electronic products and primary metals.