The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing-activity index reached 56.6 in November, reflecting 16 consecutive months of expansion for the sector. "After a surge early in the year driven by the inventory swing and material shortages caused by the inability to return to production fast enough, the pace of manufacturing activity has slowed at year end to a moderate, more sustainable rate," said Daniel Meckstroth, chief economist at Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI.

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