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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Second Estimate Released Today for Q3 2012

The second estimate of real, U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2012 was released this morning:

Predicted: +2.8%
Actual: +2.7%

The above percentages represent the quarter-to-quarter change in the Gross Domestic Product for the United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure. The GDP report is produced by the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The final GDP report for Q3 2012, which will contain the most authoritative data for the third quarter, will be released on December 20, 2012.

The GDP is a very broad measure of economic activity for the entire United States, covering all sectors of the economy. The Commerce Department defines real GDP as, "the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States."

Click here to view the full Commerce Department report (PDF).

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of November 24, 2012

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on November 24, 2012:

Predicted: 390,000
Actual: 393,000

Last Week (Revised): 416,000

The above figures represent the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Home Sales for October 2012

The October 2012 New Home Sales report was released this morning:

Predicted: 387,000

Actual New Home Sales: 368,000

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Change from One Month Previous: -0.3%
Change from One Year Previous: +17.2%

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Median Price for a New Home during October: $237,700
Average Price for a New Home during October: $278,900

Click here for historical prices and a chart.

Compiled jointly by the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the monthly New Home Sales report measures the number of newly-built homes with committed buyers for a given month.

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The New Home Sales report is watched by economists and investors because it offers insight into the state of the U.S. housing market, and also provides data that can be used to predict sales of large household furniture and appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners and microwave ovens.

Click here to view the full Commerce Department report (PDF).

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for November 2012

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for this month (November 2012) was released by The Conference Board this morning:

Predicted: 72.8
Actual: 73.7

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Every month, The Conference Board sends a questionnaire to 5,000 U.S. households. Survey participants are polled about their feeling regarding the current U.S. economy, the future of the U.S. economy, and about their own fiscal circumstances. On average, 3,500 participants complete and return the 5-question survey.

The baseline "100" score for the CCI is linked to 1985 survey data.

When consumers feel good about the economy, they tend to do more spending, and vice versa.

Based in New York City, The Conference Board is a private, not-for-profit organization with a mission to, "create and disseminate knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society."

The CCI is almost always released on the last Tuesday of the month.

Last month, the CCI was 73.1 (revised)

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Consumer Sentiment: Reading #2 for November 2012

The second Consumer Sentiment reading for November 2012 was released today:

Predicted: 84.0
Actual: 82.7

The Consumer Sentiment Index is compiled on a monthly basis by the University of Michigan; 500 U.S. households are queried about their own financial circumstances and about the economy in general. 200 questions are asked, e.g. "Do you think that right now is a good time to purchase a major household item, like a new microwave oven, TV set, or a new sofa?"

The Consumer Sentiment Index uses a 1966 baseline, i.e. for 1966, the Consumer Sentiment Index = 100. So any number that is below the 1966 baseline of 100 means that the folks who were polled recently aren't as optimistic about the U.S. economy as the sample that was polled back in 1966.

The Consumer Sentiment Index is similar to the Consumer Confidence Index in that they both measure consumer attitudes and offer insight into consumer spending.

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The previous Consumer Sentiment reading was 84.9.

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of November 17, 2012

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on November 17, 2012:

Predicted: 415,000
Actual: 410,000

Last Week (Revised): 451,000

The above figures represent the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Leading Economic Indicators for October 2012

The Conference Board report on the nation's Leading Economic Indicators for October 2012 was released this morning:

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

The above numbers represent the month-to-month change for the nation's leading economic indicators. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The Leading Economic Indicators Index is a composite of 10 of the nation's economic data releases that's put together by The Conference Board. Statistically, the components listed below have shown a significant increase or decrease before national economic upturns or downturns:

  1. The Money Supply (M2)

  2. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index

  3. The interest rate spread between the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury Note and Fed Funds

  4. Manufacturer's new orders for consumer goods or materials

  5. Manufacturer's new orders for non-defense capital goods

  6. Average weekly claims for unemployment insurance

  7. Average weekly manufacturing hours

  8. The Index of Consumer Expectations

  9. Vendor performance

  10. Building permits for new private housing

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Housing Starts During October 2012

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released the Housing Starts report for October 2012:

Housing Starts:
Predicted: 836,000
Actual: 894,000

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Change From Previous Month: +3.6%
Change From One Year Previous: +41.9%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 865,000
Actual: 866,000
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Change From Previous Month: -2.7%
Change From One Year Previous: +29.8%


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The above is a measure of initial construction of single and multi-family residential units in The United States for last month. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

If you're wondering about the demand for new homes in the United States, or about the American construction industry in general, then you should pay attention to the monthly Housing Starts report. This report also offers insight into specific types of consumer spending: when housing starts are up, demand for the stuff that a consumer would purchase for a new home (large appliances, consumer electronics, furniture, etc.) tends to also rise--and vice versa.

Click here to view the full Commerce Department report (PDF).

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Existing Home Sales for October 2012

The Existing Home Sales report for October 2012 was released by The National Association of RealtorsĀ® this morning:

Predicted: 4,700,000
Actual: 4,790,000

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Change from One Month Previous: +2.1%
Change from One Year Previous: +10.9%

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The "actual" figure above represents the preliminary, seasonally adjusted annual sales count of existing homes, co-ops and condominiums for last month. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.


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Median Price for A used home In October 2012: $178,600
Change from One Year Previous: +11.1%

Average Price for A used home In October 2012: $226,300
Change from One Year Previous: +9.9%

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Click here for historical prices and a chart.

The monthly Existing Home Sales report is released on or around the 25TH day of each month.

Click here to view the full NAR report.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Industrial Production for October 2012

The Industrial Production numbers for October 2012 were released by the Federal Reserve this morning:

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: -0.4%

Capacity Utilization Rate:
Predicted: 78.4%
Actual: 77.8%
 
The above Industrial Production numbers represent the month-to-month change in physical output from mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States.

The Capacity Utilization Rate percentages represent the use of available resources at mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States last month.

The "predicted" figures are what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Federal Reserve report.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of November 9, 2012

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on November 9, 2012 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +1,100,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +38,900,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 375,900,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories can translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Click here for a more detailed summary of The Week in Petroleum.

Click here for weekly crude oil prices.

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of November 10, 2012

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on November 10, 2012:

Predicted: 376,000
Actual: 439,000

Last Week (Revised): 361,000

The above figures represent the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for October 2012

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for October 2012:

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.1%

Below is the CPI when food and energy are subtracted from the equation, also known as the "core CPI":

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

The above numbers represent the seasonally adjusted, month-to-month change in prices for a specific group of goods and services that consumers buy, and is, therefore, a very important part of the overall inflation picture for the country.

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

General categories that constitute the CPI are:

  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Clothing
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Food & Beverages
  • Recreation
  • Miscellaneous Goods & Services (grooming expenses, etc.)
Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

U.S. Retail & Food Services Sales Report for October 2012

The Commerce Department this morning released advanced estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for October 2012:

Predicted: -0.1%
Actual: -0.3%


The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in total sales receipts for retailers that sell durable & non-durable goods, and retailers that provide food & beverage services.

Estimated Retail Sales for October : $411,600,000

  • Change from 1 Year previous: +3.8%
The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full report.

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Producer Price Index (PPI) for October 2012

The Producer Price Index (PPI) for October 2012 was released this morning:

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: -0.2%

Below is the PPI when food and energy are subtracted from the equation, also known as the "core PPI":

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: -0.2%

The above numbers represent the month-to-month change in prices for a specific group of goods and capital equipment that producers buy in order to produce finished goods for consumers. The PPI is an important part of the overall inflation picture for the country because when costs go up for producers, producers will often pass those increased costs on to consumers.

The PPI is released by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The PPI is a family or amalgamation of indexes, including The:

  • All Commodities Index
  • Crude Energy Materials Index
  • Crude Foodstuffs & Feedstuffs Index
  • Crude Materials for Further Processing Index
  • Finished Goods Index
  • Finished Consumer Foods Index
  • Finished Consumer Goods Index
  • Finished Consumer Goods Excluding Foods Index
  • Finished Energy Goods Index
  • Finished Goods: Capital Equipment Index
  • Finished Goods Excluding Foods Index
  • Finished Goods Less Energy Index
  • Finished Goods Less Food & Energy Index
  • Fuels & Related Products & Power Index
  • Industrial Commodities Index
  • Intermediate Energy Goods Index
  • Intermediate Foods & Feeds Index
  • Intermediate Materials: Supplies & Components Index

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Friday, November 09, 2012

Import and Export Price Indexes for October 2012

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on US Import and Export Price Indexes for October 2012:

Import Prices
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.5%

Export Prices

Actual:
0.0%

The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in prices for

  • Imports: the cost of goods produced in other countries and sold in the U.S.
  • Exports: the cost of goods produced in the U.S. and sold in other countries.

Together, these indexes offer insight into the status of inflation in the United States, and for the global economy as well. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Consumer Sentiment for November 2012

The Consumer Sentiment figure for this month (November 2012):

Predicted: 83.3
Actual: 84.9

The Consumer Sentiment Index is compiled on a monthly basis by the University of Michigan; 500 U.S. households are queried about their own financial circumstances and about the economy in general. 200 questions are asked, e.g. "Do you think that right now is a good time to purchase a major household item, like a new microwave oven, TV set, or a new sofa?"

The Consumer Sentiment Index uses a 1966 baseline, i.e. for 1966, the Consumer Sentiment Index = 100. So any number that is below the 1966 baseline of 100 means that the folks who were polled recently aren't as optimistic about the U.S. economy as the sample that was polled back in 1966.

The Consumer Sentiment Index is similar to the Consumer Confidence Index in that they both measure consumer attitudes and offer insight into consumer spending.

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The previous Consumer Sentiment reading was 82.6.

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Thursday, November 08, 2012

International Trade Balance Level for September, 2012

The International Trade Balance Level for September, 2012 was released by The U.S. Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: $ -45,400,000,000
Actual: $ -41,500,000,000

The "actual" figure above represents the balance of trade -- imports vs. exports -- between the United States and all other countries, and includes both goods and services. A negative number represents a trade deficit, while a positive number represents a trade surplus.

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Commerce Department report (PDF).

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of November 3, 2012

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on November 3, 2012:

Predicted: 370,000
Actual: 355,000

Last Week (Revised): 363,000

The above figures represent the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of November 2, 2012

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on November 2, 2012 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +1,800,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +36,800,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 374,800,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories can translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Click here for a more detailed summary of The Week in Petroleum.

Click here for weekly crude oil prices.

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Friday, November 02, 2012

U.S. Factory Orders Report for September 2012

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories & Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for  September 2012:

Predicted: +4.9%
Actual: +4.8%

The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in orders for both durable and nondurable goods made by from U.S. manufacturers. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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Employment Situation Report for October 2012

The Employment Situation report for October 2012 was released by The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: 0.0%

Non-farm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +125K
Actual: +171K

Average Workweek
Predicted: 34.5 hrs
Actual: 34.4 hrs

Unemployment Rate
Predicted: 7.9%
Actual: 7.9%

Economist, academics, central bankers and investors pay very close attention to the monthly Employment Situation report as it offers penetrating insight as to the current and near-future state of the overall U.S. economy. If a) Americans are earning more money, b) unemployment is low and c) the economy is creating new jobs, this typically translates to more money being pumped into the economy (and vice versa.)

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Department of Labor report.

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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Productivity and Labor Cost Report for Q3 2012 Released Today (Preliminary)

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its quarterly report on Productivity and Unit Labor Costs for the third quarter of 2012 (preliminary data):

Non-farm Productivity
Predicted: +2.0%
Actual: +1.9%

Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +1.2%
Actual: -0.1%

The above percentages represent the quarter-to-quarter change in non-farm productivity and unit labor costs.

For non-farm productivity, a positive number represents an improvement in the efficiency of producing domestic goods and services in the U.S., and therefore can signify a favorable inflationary outlook, and vice versa.

The Unit Labor Costs report measures the costs related to producing each unit of output. A positive number can be a harbinger of rising inflation, and vice versa.

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report (PDF.)

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Construction Spending during September 2012

Earlier today, the U.S. Census Bureau -- which is part of the U.S. Commerce Department -- released the Construction Spending report for September 2012:

Predicted: +0.6%
Actual: +0.6%

The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in new public and private construction activity for the United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Change from one year previous: +7.8%

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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Challenger Report on Corporate Layoffs for October 2012

Earlier today, the outplacement company Challenger released their report on corporate layoffs for October 2012:

Job Cuts Announced during October 2012: 47,724

If corporate layoffs are high, consumer spending may decline, since there would be fewer people with steady jobs.

When corporate layoffs are low, this can mean that the job market is relatively tight, which can be a harbinger of wage inflation.

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Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for October 2012

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for this month (October 2012) was released by The Conference Board this morning:

Predicted: 74.0
Actual: 72.2

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Every month, The Conference Board sends a questionnaire to 5,000 U.S. households. Survey participants are polled about their feeling regarding the current U.S. economy, the future of the U.S. economy, and about their own fiscal circumstances. On average, 3,500 participants complete and return the 5-question survey.

The baseline "100" score for the CCI is linked to 1985 survey data.

When consumers feel good about the economy, they tend to do more spending, and vice versa.

Based in New York City, The Conference Board is a private, not-for-profit organization with a mission to, "create and disseminate knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society."

The CCI is almost always released on the last Tuesday of the month.

Last month, the CCI was 68.4 (revised)

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of October 27, 2012

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on October 27, 2012:

Predicted: 369,000
Actual: 363,000

Last Week (Revised): 372,000

The above figures represent the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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ISM Manufacturing Index for October 2012

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released their Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) for October 2012:

Actual: 51.7%

Every month, the ISM surveys purchasing and supply executives at hundreds of companies across the country who are involved in manufacturing in some form. The resulting index is watched closely by academics, economists and investors because manufacturing accounts for about 12% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The PMI is a reliable barometer of U.S. manufacturing: A PMI above 50% implies that U.S. manufacturing expanded during the month specified, while a reading below 50% implies that the manufacturing sector contracted.

For September 2012, the PMI was 51.5%.
Here are quotes from respondents in various sectors of the U.S. manufacturing economy:
    "       'Market is still very soft.' (Paper Products)

            'Business is picking up.' (Furniture & Related Products)

            '[Our] 4th quarters usually begin to show a slowdown in demand, and this year is no different; prices are also dropping.' (Wood Products)

            'Demand down slightly due to customers pre-buying ahead of announced material price increases.' (Plastics & Rubber Products)

            'The slowing of capital expenditure in Europe and China has lowered our backlog for Q4.' (Computer & Electronic Products)

            'We see a general softening in the steel and automotive markets in the fourth quarter.' (Fabricated Metal Products)

            'Cuts in healthcare reimbursement rates continue to negatively affect top-line revenue.' (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

            'Business conditions stable to slightly improving.' (Transportation Equipment)

            'Sales and order intake have slowed.' (Primary Metals)

            'Europe is still very much a concern. Global recovery is still fragile.' (Chemical Products)"

    Click here to view the complete ISM report.

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