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Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Institute of Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity released Friday hit its lowest level since the end of the Great Recession in December.

Why it matters: It shows worsening conditions for the U.S. manufacturing sector, which has been in contraction for five straight months, and reignites concerns about the trade war's impact on the economy. Stocks, already in the red after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general, fell near the lowest levels of the day following the release of the data.

By the numbers: The index came in at 47.2 in December — worse than the 49 economists expected — falling 0.9 points from the prior month's reading. (Any reading below 50 suggests the manufacturing sector is in contraction.)

  • Respondents to the survey, which manufacture goods in 18 different industries, noted sluggish demand for products, as well as suppliers passing tariff-related costs on to manufacturers.

The bottom line: "Global trade remains the most significant cross-industry issue, but there are signs that several industry sectors will improve as a result of the phase-one trade agreement between the U.S. and China," ISM chair Timothy Fiore said in a statement.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The ransomware pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

"We are on the cusp of a global pandemic," said Christopher Krebs, the first director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, told Congress last week. The virus causing the pandemic isn't biological, however. It's software.

Why it matters: Crippling a major U.S. oil pipeline this weekend initially looked like an act of war — but it's now looking like an increasingly normal crime, bought off-the-shelf from a "ransomware as a service" provider known as DarkSide.

Hollywood's wakeup call

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Decades of failures around diversity and inclusion finally caught up with Hollywood Monday, when NBC made the unprecedented decision not to air the Golden Globes next year following backlash against the group that hosts the show.

Why it matters: NBC has been airing the event exclusively for decades. Its decision to pull back speaks to how big the backlash against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has become.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
2 hours ago - Health

There's a frenzy for summer school, but it may not be enough

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Kids across the country have fallen behind after more than a year of interrupted, unstable and inequitable virtual school. And they'll need to go to summer school to catch up.

Yes, but: It's not that easy. Kids are demoralized, teachers are exhausted, and it'll take more than one summer to fix the pandemic's damage.