Donald A. Norman, Ph.D., senior economist
The Composite Business Outlook Index was 55 in December, down slightly from 56 in September, pointing to continued expansion over the next three to six months. Most of the individual indexes remain above 50, the dividing line between expansion and contraction. The small drop in the composite index, coupled with the improvement in the forward looking indexes, suggests that the decline in manufacturing activity that started in March 2012 may be bottoming out. This quarter's wildcard questions ask whether companies have brought operations back to the United States or are planning to do so and the factors affecting location decisions. Economic Outlook

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