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November 4, 2019

Does Unease Among Manufacturing Workers Signal Increasing Chances For An Economic Downturn?

The Washington, D.C.-based data and survey analysis firm Morning Consult says it might and, if it does, there are gray clouds on the horizon.

In a report issued this past week, Morning Consult said, “Manufacturing declines have historically served as grim portents for broader economic downturns …” And, according to a survey Morning Consult carries out each week, manufacturing sector workers are getting more worried about the industry as the country heads into the new year.

Specifically, the manufacturing Index of Consumer Sentiment edged down to 118.3 from 119.5 in the last week and though that reading remains above the 100 line that divides positive from negative impressions of economic outlook, the expectations index also declined. (Morning Consult’s results are based on daily surveys of 7,500 U.S. adults and draws upon surveys that ask each respondent the same five questions as the University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers.)

Morning Consult also found manufacturing’s decline in consumer confidence is also longer and more persistent than the general population, which has started to rebound. This week, the overall Index of Consumer Sentiment rose to 109.1 from 108.3.

“The fall in consumer confidence within the manufacturing sector starts earlier than the fall in the general population,” John Leer, senior director for Morning Consult Economic Intelligence. “We don’t see the same rebound in October amongst manufacturing workers as we do across the general population.”