Man, the ISM number for November--traditionally the first read we get on the economy at the start of each month--was not good. The headline number, at 49.5, was the lowest since July 2009 and well below expectations. Below 50 is contraction; it has now contracted for the fourth time in six months.
This is not a strong economy. Of the 18 industries, 11 reported a contraction in November.
Not exactly upbeat commentary, either. The Chair of the Survey Committee, Bradley J. Holcomb, said: "Comments from the panel this month generally indicate that the second half of the year continues to show a slow down in demand; respondents also express concern over how and when the fiscal cliff issue will be resolved."