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The

Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index

, a barometer for the manufacturing sector in Chicago, rose to a seasonally adjusted 44.7 in December from 41.7 in November, according to the Chicago arm of the

National Association of Purchasing Management

.

An index below 50 indicates factory-sector contraction, while a reading above 50 suggests expansion. The index, which is compiled monthly and reported on the last business day of the month, is considered a good gauge of what to expect from the

Purchasing Managers' Index

, which is available on the first business day of the month.

NAPM-Chicago reported that, "many indexes remain at near historic lows" and "continues to signal decline." The employment component of the index grew to 44.9 in December from 39.0 in November, while the prices paid index grew to 61.0 from 59.1. New orders rose to 41.6 from 37.9.