Washington — Activity is contracting in the US manufacturing sector but the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell last week, signs that factories are suffering from a global slowdown even as the broader labour market remains healthy.

On Thursday, IHS Markit said its flash purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for manufacturing fell to 49.9 earlier this month from 50.4 in July, pointing to a contraction in the sector for the first time since September 2009.

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