Survey: US factories sink in May for third straight month

American factories contracted for the third straight month in May as they continued to sustain economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index came in at 43.1 last month after registering 41.5 in April. Anything below 50 signals that U.S. manufacturers are in retreat. New orders, production, hiring and new export orders all fell in May but at a slower pace than they did in April.

The results were about what economists expected.

The pandemic and the lockdowns, and travel restrictions meant to combat it, have brought economic activity to a near-standstill. U.S. gross domestic product fell at a 5% annual rate from January-March and is expected to drop at a record-busting 40% rate from April-June.

The Commerce Department said last week that orders for big-ticket manufactured goods dropped 17.2% in April after falling 16.6% in March.