Economic activity in the manufacturing sector in September reached its lowest level since October 2001, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The private research organization's index of manufacturing activity (PMI) was 43.5 for the moth of September, a substantial decline from August's 49.9 and from the average industry prediction of 49.5. A number below 50 indicates contracting economic activity. "The PMI indicates a significantly faster rate of decline in manufacturing during September, marking a departure from the 2008 trend toward negligible growth or contraction each month," says Norbert J. Ore, chair of ISM's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. The report indicates that six industries reported growth in September: petroleum and coal products; paper products; food, beverage, and tobacco products; miscellaneous manufacturing; computer and electronic products; and chemical products. More than a dozen industries reported contraction, including transportation equipment; plastics and rubber products; fabricated metal products; apparel, leather, and allied products; and electrical equipment, appliances, and components.
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