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U.S. Manufacturing Remains Healthy, Economist Shepherdson Says

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March 24 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. manufacturing remains strong, economist Ian Shepherdson said after the government reported an unexpected decline in factory orders for durable goods.

“I’m reluctant to call this any type of turn,” said Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics of Valhalla, New York. “I don’t think there’s much wrong with the manufacturing sector.”

Shepherdson cited gains in the Institute for Supply Management’s national factory index for his optimism in a radio interview today on “Bloomberg Surveillance” with Tom Keene.

He was less optimistic about the labor market. “I’m very skeptical of what’s reported has actually happened,” Shepherdson said.

The Commerce Department reported today that durable goods orders dropped 0.9 percent last month. Economists had anticipated an increase. The Labor Department, meantime, reported initial jobless claims fell last week.

(In the U.S., hear Bloomberg Radio on satellite radio: Sirius Channel 130 and XM Channel 129. In New York City, tune to WBBR 1130 on the AM dial.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Vincent Del Giudice in Washington vdelgiudice@bloomberg.net; Thomas R. Keene in New York tkeene@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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