Manufacturing: Another Distress Signal

But the big drop in the September Chicago purchasing-managers' index could be skewed by developments in the auto industry

The Chicago Purchasing Managers' industrial-activity index, a survey of conditions in the Midwest, dropped to 48.1 in September from 54.9 in August. This left the index at the lowest level since January, 2002. The decline was much worse than expected, and will further contribute to market fears that economic strength is deteriorating.

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