06 June 2008 21:14 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Recent US economic statistics suggest a mild downturn, despite a huge monthly jump in the unemployment rate, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Friday.
The nation's unemployment rate reached 5.5% in May, up from 5% in April, according to the US Department of Labor. It was the biggest monthly rise since 1986.
However, average monthly job losses have been relatively low when compared with past downturns in 1990 and 2001, according to the ACC, which commented about the rate in its weekly report on economic trends.
Since peaking in December, average job losses have been 65,000/month, the group said. After job losses peaked during the 1990 downturn, monthly job losses reached an average of 127,000 during a comparative period
Following the peak in 2001, job losses were 122,000/month, the council said.
In addition, the manufacturing report from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) showed that activity was not in a free fall, the council said. Moreover, there are signs that prospects could improve in the near term.
Nonetheless, the report indicated that activity was still soft, the council said. Moreover, high energy prices are squeezing margins that are already tight.
Overall, nine out of 20 economic indicators were positive, the council said. As a result, it posted a red flag for the general economy, its worst rating.
In regards to chemistry, it was one of the industries reporting growth in the ISM and unemployment reports, the council said. In addition, chemical ailcar loadings have increased, another sign of growth.
The council gave the business of chemistry its yellow banner, which is midway between its best and worst ratings.
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