U.S. manufacturing activity declined in February to its weakest level in nearly five years. After reporting modest growth for January, the Institute for Supply Management said its February manufacturing index registered at 48.3—its weakest reading since April 2003. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, and anything below that shows contraction.
The report's employment index fell to 46.0 from 47.1 in January, indicating accelerating contraction. New orders also showed an accelerated contraction. In addition, prices continued to increase, albeit at a slower pace than in January. (AP)