The manufacturing level in December plummeted to its lowest level in 28 years, according to a report by the Institute for Supply Management. The institute's manufacturing index fell to 32.4, lower than the level analysts had predicted at 35.5. The index, which indicates contraction if under 50, has fallen for the past five months. "Overall U.S. manufacturing output, which has been shrinking since late 2007 and losing momentum at a more rapid rate recently, is likely to be even weaker in coming quarters," said an economist.

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