Manufacturing activity in the United States dropped in August, according to a report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The group's index of national factory activity dipped to 49.9, down from July's 50.0. A reading below 50 signals a contraction in the manufacturing economy. Most industry analysts had predicted the number would remain steady. "This continues the 2008 trend toward negligible growth or contraction each month, but ultimately results in very little overall change in the sector," says Norbert J. Ore, C.P.M., chair of ISM's Business Survey Committee. "Export orders picked up additional momentum, and that is important to manufacturers as domestic demand remains soft for most industries."
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