Survey: US manufacturing shrinks to lowest level since July 2009, first month after recession

A survey shows U.S. manufacturing shrank in November to its weakest level since July 2009. The impact of Superstorm Sandy and worries about automatic tax increases that could take effect in January combined to reduce factory orders and manufacturing jobs.

The Institute for Supply Management says its index of manufacturing conditions fell to a reading of 49.5. That's down from 51.7 in October.

A reading above 50 signals expansion, while readings below 50 point to contraction. The second contracted after two months of growth.