It's not entirely clear at the moment what the outbreak of the coronavirus is doing or will do to American manufacturing, but it's already taking a significant toll on global manufacturing which has plummeted to the lowest level of output since George W. Bush was president
The world's largest investment bank, JP Morgan, says global manufacturing contracted in February and exports fell to the lowest level since the Great Recession.
Global manufacturing contracted in February by the most since 2009 on the biggest plunge for production in almost two decades as the coronavirus severely disrupted demand, trade and supply chains.
The JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI fell 3.2 points, the most since 2008, to 47.2, snapping a three-month streak of expansionary readings, according to a report released Monday. The measure of new export orders tumbled, eclipsing the prior lows during the U.S.-China trade war with the lowest reading since 2009.
Factory employment declined for a third straight month, with the rate of job losses the fastest since 2009.
What may be most concerning is that this is happening more or less at the beginning of the global outbreak and we don't know how far and wide it will spread.
In any case, the drop in global demand is going to hit our own economy even if the outbreak in the United States is not as severe as it is in other countries. A drop in global demand means less demand for American exports. Similarly, a drop in global exports means consumers in the world's largest economies in the United States and China are pulling back from spending in numbers that may not be immediately reflected in our own economic reports.
I don't know where all of this is going to end, but the number of statistics showing Great Recession-era readings is really piling up.