U.S. Manufacturing Activity Powered Ahead in May; Work Backlogs Rising

(Reuters) – U.S. factory activity gathered speed in early May amid strong domestic demand, but backlogs of uncompleted work are piling up as manufacturers struggle to find raw materials and labor, boosting costs for both businesses and consumers.

Data firm IHS Markit said on Friday its flash U.S. manufacturing PMI increased to 61.5 in the first half of this month. That was the highest reading since the survey was expanded to cover all manufacturing industries in October 2009, and followed a final reading of 60.5 in April.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index dipping to 60.2 in early May. A reading above 50 indicates growth in manufacturing, which accounts for 11.9% of the U.S. economy.

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