A measure of prices received by U.S. manufacturers and service providers increased to a record in April as firms shifted the burden of higher wages and surging costs to customers, further fanning inflationary pressures.
A report Friday from S&P Global also showed an index of input price growth jumped to a record high, reflecting rising costs of raw materials, fuel, transportation and labor. The price pressures seen across both the manufacturing and service parts of the economy suggest inflation will remain elevated for the foreseeable future.
“Many businesses continue to report a tailwind of pent-up demand from the pandemic, but companies are also facing mounting challenges from rising inflation and the cost of living squeeze, as well as persistent supply chain delays and labor constraints,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global.
New business pulled back among service providers in April to a three-month low as persistent supply constraints limited capacity and inflation dampened consumers’ willingness to spend. Even so, looser travel restrictions spurred the strongest pace of new export orders in data back to 2014.
Meanwhile, manufacturers enjoyed the strongest new orders growth in seven months, boosted by a surge in foreign demand. Output accelerated, and the flash purchasing managers index for U.S. manufacturers advanced to the strongest since September.
Overall, the S&P Global flash U.S. composite PMI — a measure of business activity — fell 2.6 points to 55.1. Readings above 50 indicate growth.
In the euro area, activity unexpectedly picked up to a seven-month high. An improvement in services was led by an unprecedented surge in tourism and recreation, while manufacturers saw output growing at the slowest pace in nearly two years.
In the face of both Russia’s war with Ukraine and the severe virus-control measures China has placed on some of its largest cities, a significant improvement in the world’s snarled supply chains is unlikely any time soon.
Backlogs at service providers and manufacturers grew in April at the second-sharpest pace in data back to 2009. Supplier delivery times lengthened.
While retaining and attracting new workers remains a challenge for businesses, employment grew at a robust pace in April, though did slow somewhat from the prior month.
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