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U.S. Manufacturing Activity Unexpectedly Contracts At Faster Rate

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Pointing to continued weakness in the U.S. manufacturing sector, the Institute for Supply Management released a report on Monday showing manufacturing activity contracted for the fourth straight month in November.

The ISM said its purchasing managers index edged down to 48.1 in November from 48.3 in October, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 49.2.

"November was the fourth consecutive month of PMI contraction, at a faster rate compared to the prior month," said Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "Global trade remains the most significant cross-industry issue."

The unexpected dip by the headline index was partly due to faster rate of contraction in new orders, as the new orders index slid to 47.2 in November from 49.1 in October.

The employment index also fell to 46.6 in November from 47.7 in October, indicating employment in the manufacturing sector contracted at a faster rate.

On the inflation front, the prices index climbed to 46.7 in November from 45.5 in October, but a reading below 50 still indicates a drop in prices.

The ISM is scheduled to release a separate report on activity in the service sector in the month of November on Wednesday.

The non-manufacturing index is expected to edge down to 54.5 in November from 54.7 in October, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in service sector activity.

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