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U.S. manufacturing levels sink to two-year low

The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. manufacturing activity slowed sharply to a two-year low in December, raising fears of slower economic growth in the U.S. and China.

The Institute for Supply Management’s monthly survey noted that the monthly rating dropped 5.2 points to 54.1 last month, the fastest drop since November 2008, and the lowest level in two years. A number above 50, however, shows that factory activity is still expanding.

But the ISM report noted that there was a drop in new orders and hiring at factories.

“The economy is just going to be spinning its wheels with subpar growth in 2019 if the purchasing managers’ report is to be believed,” Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York, told Reuters. “New orders have dried up and this will take a toll on business investment and growth in 2019.”

Manufacturing accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy.

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