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U.S. Manufacturing Contracts

Wall Street Journal (12/04/12) Neil Shah

U.S. manufacturing slowed in November for the first time in three months as factories rolled back hiring and investment. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of manufacturing activity declined to 49.5, the lowest level in more than three years. Figures under 50 mean activity is declining instead of expanding. Employment in the manufacturing sector, meanwhile, fell significantly from 50 to 45, suggesting companies are putting off hiring. Many manufacturers are taking on a defensive posture over uncertainty about the “fiscal cliff.” Hurricane Sandy has not had much of an impact.