U.S. manufacturing activity slowed less than expected in July and there were signs that supply constraints are easing, with a measure of prices paid for inputs by factories falling to a two-year low, suggesting inflation has probably peaked. While the Institute for Supply Management survey on Monday showed a measure of factor employment contracting for a third straight month, Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, noted that “companies continue to hire at strong rates, with few indications of layoffs, hiring freezes or headcount reduction through attrition.” The better-than-expected ISM reading suggested that the economy was not in recession despite a decline in gross domestic product in the first half of the year. Businesses, however, are sitting on excess inventories after ordering too many goods because of worries about shortages, depressing new orders. “The post-pandemic inventory restocking cycle is winding down […]