US manufacturing shrinks for fifth straight month

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory activity contracted for the fifth straight month in February.

The Institute for Supply Management says that its manufacturing index rose to 49.5 last month from 48.2 in January. But anything below 50 signals a decline.

Factory employment and exports fell, but new orders and production increased.

American manufacturers have been hurt by economic weakness overseas and a strong dollar, which makes U.S. good more expensive in foreign markets.

The ISM, a trade group of purchasing managers, surveys about 200 U.S. companies each month.