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Global woes dragging on local manufacturing

Despite the struggling New York State manufacturing sector,

Despite the struggling New York State manufacturing sector, work continues at defense contractor GSE Dynamics in Hauppague. Credit: Daniel Goodrich, 2010

Manufacturing here and around the country is starting to feel the effects of the economic slowdown in Europe.

U.S. manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in three years, according to a report from the Institute for Supply Management. The ISM's index of manufacturing activity in the United States fell to 49.7 from 53.5 in May; readings below 50 indicate contraction.

The decline in manufacturing activity was due to a combination of the eurozone crisis, an economic slowdown in China and decelerating consumer demand.

In a separate report, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in mid-June, revealed that manufacturing in New York had slowed to nearly a standstill, as the survey's general business conditions index dropped about 15 points to 2.09.

While it's hard to break out data on Long Island manufacturing, there's evidence that manufacturers here are also feeling the effects of Europe's economic woes.

Jim D'Addario, chief executive of guitar string maker D'Addario & Co. in East Farmingdale, said he has noticed a decline in his company's exports to Europe. "The European business has been a little bit slow. . . We notice it's been a little bit tougher of a market there," he said.

Although business has slowed in the last couple of months, he said, there has been no drastic contraction.

Anne Shybunko-Moore, president of Hauppauge-based defense contractor GSE Dynamics, said local initiatives like the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, which serves as the entry point for expanding businesses to receive state aid, has helped manufacturers. She and D'Addario are council members.

"Long Island is very progressive in trying to expand our advanced manufacturing capabilities overall," she said. "So I like to think we're ahead of the curve . . . that may be why we're not seeing the same pattern as the rest of the U.S."

By one measure, however, Long Island has lost some ground. The number of manufacturing jobs in Nassau and Suffolk counties, according to a New York State Department of Labor report last month, fell 1.2 percent in May compared to a year earlier. 

The story was supplemented with reports from The Associated Press.

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