Manufacturing contracted in September as the purchasing managers index registered 43.5, 6.4 points lower than the 49.9 reported in August. This is the lowest reading since October 2001, when PMI registered 40.8. A reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 indicates that it is generally contracting.

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector failed to grow in September, while the overall economy grew for the 83d consecutive month, according to the nation’s supply executives in the latest Institute for Supply Management Report on Business.

“The PMI indicates a significantly faster rate of decline in manufacturing during September, marking a departure from the 2008 trend toward negligible growth or contraction each month. This is the lowest level for the PMI since October 2001. This month’s report is showing prices rising at a much slower rate, as the prices index fell to the lowest level in 21 months. Export orders continued to increase, but at a slower rate than in August,” the report said.

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