Jobs numbers out Friday, but another report could be more important


Metal worker Andy Mattingly operates a siphoning crucible in the pot room at Century Aluminum Company in Hawesville, Kentucky, May 14, 2019.

Bryan Woolston | Reuters

An update on manufacturing activity Friday could provide a much more useful picture of the economy than the October employment report, which is expected to be unusually weak due to the General Motors strike.

ISM manufacturing data is expected to show a contraction in activity in October, for the third month in a row. Manufacturing has been at the heart of the economy’s sluggishness, with a drop in business investment a big reason for the third quarter’s sluggish 1.9% growth pace.

Jobs, on the other hand, have been strong, as has…


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