January 31, 2007 10:30 AM, EST

January Chicago Manufacturing Index Shows Contraction

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The National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago’s manufacturing index fell in January to the first contraction since April 2003, NAPM said Wednesday.The index fell to 48.8 from December’s 51.6 reading, the group said. Readings above 50 signal expansion, while below that level signal contraction.Economists had expected the index to rise to 52, Bloomberg reported.Chicago is a major center of U.S. manufacturing, which is one of trucking’s largest and most important customers.