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U.S. Manufacturing Hits 26-Year Low

A key measure of manufacturing activity in the United States fell to its lowest point in 26 years, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The organization's monthly manufacturing index fell to 36.2, down from 38.9 in October; a number below 50 indicates that the sector is contracting. It is the lowest reading since a 35.5 reading in May 1982. The ISM's report says that only two sectors saw growth in November: apparel, leather, and allied products; and paper products. In addition, the ISM's new orders index fell to 27.9 from 32.2 in October, the lowest level since June 1980. The organization's backlog of orders index fell to 27, the lowest level since it tracking began in 1993. "Manufacturing is in free fall," says Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at the research firm High Frequency Economics, in a article. "This survey promises continued recession."

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