Yesterday's 4.2% drop in durable goods orders was "alarming," says Cliff Waldman, senior economist for the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI).
Waldman says he is most troubled by how widespread the weakness in the industry figures is.
"Primary and fabricated metals as well as machinery and computers all experienced significant declines in orders activity. Metals demand is an important harbinger for the factory sector in that these industries provide inputs for a wide range of manufacturing supply chains," says Waldman. "The declines in machinery and computers demand reinforce the notion of slowing capital spending both in manufacturing and across the broad economy."
Waldman says "disappointing reports on jobs, durable goods demand, manufacturing output and housing suggest that whatever strength the U.S. economy had going into 2012 is waning. Persistent sluggishness in U.S. economic activity and a growing list of global concernsincluding a deepening recession in the Eurozone and a sharp slowdown in emerging markets have begun to take their toll on the U.S. manufacturing sector, whose growth is now moderating from the relatively strong pace of recent years."