Factory output drops for second time in three months

Economists had been wondering if the recent flagging employment numbers were a statistical fluke or signs of a downturn. The latest on industrial output should answer some of those questions. Reuters: Manufacturing output contracted in May for the second time in three months and a gauge of factory activity in New York state plunged this month, worrisome signs the American economy is cooling. Factory production shrank 0.4 percent last month, the Federal Reserve said on Friday. Total industrial output, covering factories, mines and utilities, declined 0.1 percent. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected industrial production to rise 0.1 percent. The slackening U.S. recovery and a worsening debt crisis in Europe have increased expectations of a further easing of monetary policy by the Fed, although economists are divided on whether the central bank will act when it meets on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hiring by U.S. employers has slowed for four straight months, while retail sales...(Read Full Post)