Manufacturing activity in the United States showed no growth in July, according to a report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The ISM's manufacturing index (PMI) slipped slightly to 50 percent, down 0.2 percent from the June figure, indicating that an equal number of companies reported business growing and slowing. The ISM's index has been near 50 percent for 10 straight months, with strong exports offsetting weakness in the automotive sector, according to the report. "Manufacturing has maintained a reasonable level of activity during a period in which other sectors of the economy have been in recession," says Norbert J. Ore, chair of the ISM's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "While the PMI indicates little to no change has occurred during this period, it would be hard to convince manufacturers who are faced with higher costs and uncertain demand that there is little change taking place." The report indicates that industries reporting growth were: computer and electronic products; petroleum and coal products; food, beverage, and tobacco products; primary metals; paper products; and chemical products. Industries reporting contractions were: plastics and rubber products; wood products; transportation equipment; printing and related support activities; electrical equipment; appliances and components; machinery; miscellaneous manufacturing; and fabricated metal products.
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