In spite of the September gain in manufacturing output, the factory sector experienced a 0.9 percent contraction during the third quarter of 2012, a near mirror image of the 1.0 percent increase seen during the second quarter. Further, the Purchasing Managers’ Index has been flashing disconcerting signs for near-term activity in U.S. manufacturing. One of the most disheartening consequences of the now clear slowdown in U.S. manufacturing output growth is the renewed loss of manufacturing jobs after a relatively strong string of gains that was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak job market recovery.
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