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Well, if you needed an official stamp of disapproval on the U.S. economy, it came Monday: the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private group charged by the government with determining America's economic cycles, said the country has been in a recession since December 2007.
New data on Monday did not point to happier days being here again. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity fell to 36.2 in November from 38.9 in October. The drop brings the index to its weakest point since 1982, when the United States was also in a recession. Adding insult to injury, the reading was still below Wall Street's already dour 37.0 forecast.