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US Midwest activity took a breather in December: ISM

The pace of growth in business activity in the U.S. Midwest slowed for a second month in December, signaling a cooling in the improvement of the region's manufacturing, a report showed on Tuesday.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business barometer declined to 59.1 from 63.0 in November, falling short of economists' median forecast of 61.0. A year ago, the index was a tad below 50, which is the threshold that indicates expansion in the regional economy.

The gauge of new orders fell to 60.7 from 68.8 in November, as its production gauge fell to 57.9 from 64.3. The employment component retreated to 51.6, its lowest since April. In November, it hit 60.9 which was its highest since October 2011.

The report's prices paid reading slipped to 63.3 from 63.7 last month.

--By Reuters