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ISM: U.S. Economy Poised for Growth for First Time in 18 Months

In another sign that the recession may be over, the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index for July indicates that the U.S. economy showed the slowest pace of decline since last August, and that growth may be recorded next month. According to the ISM, the July index was 48.9, up from 44.9 in June; in addition, new orders and production -- leading components of the index -- rose significantly. "If we stay on trend ... we would expect to be above 50 next month," says Norbert Ore, chair of the ISM's Manufacturing Survey Committee, quoted by the Associated Press. A reading of 50 or higher indicates economic growth; the index has not been above 50 since January 2008. The ISM says manufacturing industries that saw growth in July were nonmetallic mineral products, paper products, printing and related support activities, electrical equipment, appliances and components, transportation equipment, and chemical products. The report indicates that while trends indicate recovery, the employment and inventory indexes are still contracting, although less than in previous months. The ISM will release its report for August on September 1.

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