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US manufacturing grows in December: ISM

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US manufacturing grew in December for the 17th month, capping a strong year in the sector that is leading the economic recovery from recession, according to a key industry survey released Monday.

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) said its manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 57.0 percent last month, the best reading since May,

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“All told, the December ISM index is consistent with a manufacturing industry on solid footing and an economy that reaccelerated in the fourth quarter,” said Ryan Sweet at Moody’s Analytics.

The pace was slightly weaker than the analyst consensus forecast of a rise to 57.3 percent following November’s 56.6 percent reading.

A number above 50 percent indicates expansion.

“We saw significant recovery for much of the US manufacturing sector in 2010,” Norbert Ore, head of the ISM manufacturing business survey committee, said in a statement.

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Ore noted the recovery was focused on strength in autos, metals, food, machinery, computers and electronics, while industries tied primarily to the devastated housing sector continued to struggle.

“December’s strong readings in new orders and production, combined with positive comments from the panel, should create momentum as we go into the first quarter of 2011,” Ore said.

New orders rose 4.3 percentage points from November and production jumped 5.7 points, the ISM said.

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The ISM prices index surged to 72.5 percent in December, up 3.0 points from November, as prices rose on all reported commodities, excluding natural gas.

The employment index, however, slipped 1.8 points to 55.7 percent.

“The employment index was disappointing, falling from 57.5 to 55.7 for December. The decline does leave us comfortable with the forecast for manufacturing payrolls to have declined for a fifth consecutive month in December,” Moody’s analyst Sweet said.

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The keenly awaited official December jobs market data is due Friday. High unemployment and depressed home values are posing stiff challenges to getting the recovery on a sustainable track.

Most analysts expect the Labor Department will report the unemployment rate slipped to 9.7 percent from 9.8 percent in November, and the economy created 135,000 nonfarm jobs, up from a paltry 39,000 the prior month.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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70 US mayors issue scathing letter demanding Trump USDA call off effort to strip food stamps from 3 million people

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"Executive action should not be used to hurt individuals, families, and communities."

In a letter Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, mayors from 70 cities across the country expressed their "strong opposition" to the Trump administration's proposed federal rule that could cut off food stamps for more than 3 million people.

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US raps China for ‘escalation’ in South China Sea

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The United States on Thursday sharpened its criticism of China's activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea, slamming an "escalation" in efforts to intimidate other claimants" such as Vietnam.

China redeployed a government-owned survey vessel -- with armed escorts -- into the waters off Vietnam earlier this month, the US said.

Hanoi says those waters are part of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The move could reignite a spat between Beijing and Vietnam over rights to the resource-rich waters in the South China Sea. Other countries in Southeast Asia also have claimed parts of the sea.

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2020 Election

‘Unhinged, erratic and nuts’: Conservative warns Trump’s ‘chosen one’ outburst should set off alarms

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In her column for the Washington Post, conservative never-Trumper Jennifer Rubin implored Republicans to look deep down inside themselves and stop defending Donald Trump after the president bizarrely declared himself the "chosen one" while speaking to the press on Wednesday.

Under a headline, "Trump’s unhinged display should frighten everyone,"Rubin ticked off comments made by the president in the past week since he returned from vacation including expressing a desire to buy Greenland, proposing -- then backing off -- new tax policies and calling Jews "disloyal" and wondered what it will take for people to see that the president is "nuts."

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