Growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector slowed in May as the pace of production dropped on falling prices and slower orders, the ISM monthly purchasing manager survey showed Friday.
The Institute for Supply Management's index fell to 53.5 from 54.8 in April, showing the sector is still growing but closer to the slower pace of the first quarter of the year.
The ISM sub-index of manufacturing prices plunged from 61.0 to 47.5, showing prices overall decreased in May -- the first decrease since December 2011.
Both exports and order backlogs also decreased and customer inventories continued to shrink from the previous month, translating into a slowdown in the growth of overall production from 61.0 to 55.6.
Even so, growth remained positive and comments from industry officials surveyed by the ISM "generally reflect stable-to-strong orders, with sales showing steady improvement over the first five months of 2012."
Purchasing managers in chemical products, machinery and fabricated metal products industries were upbeat about business in May.
Other industries generally reported general steady growth, with the exception of computer and electronics businesses and transportation equipment producers.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012