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The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Thursday that its manufacturing index fell to 55.4 in September from 56 in August. Anything above 50 signals growth, and U.S. manufacturing has expanded now for five consecutive months.

The ISM reported that new orders and production grew in September, though at a slower pace. Employment contracted for the 14th straight month, though with a reading of 49.6, came very close to expansion for the first time since July 2019.

ISM said 14 of the 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in September. Those in contraction were apparel, printing, petroleum and coal products and primary metals.

Layoffs are hitting sectors in retreat, including more than 2,000 job cuts at Ohio’s Marathon Petroleum late Wednesday.

Although manufacturing picked up beginning in June, there are signs that activity may be slowing. Last week, the Commerce Department reported that orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods increased just 0.4% in August following a much larger gain in the previous month. It was the fourth consecutive monthly increase, but it was far weaker than the 11.7% surge in July.

The Commerce Department also reported this week that gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic output — plummeted at a 31.4% in the April-June quarter. It was by far the worst three months in records dating back to 1947.

That likely means the U.S. economy in 2020, for the first

Most of us lie to ourselves. Psychologists put it down to something called cognitive dissonance, the uncomfortable tension we feel when our behavior does not match our beliefs. We know that we should save for the future, protect our credit scores, and build wealth, so when we don’t do it, we come up with lies to make ourselves feel better.

Here are some of the biggest whoppers we tell ourselves and how to straighten them out:

Lie No. 1: I’ll begin saving next year

Truth: It never feels like the right time to save money. Perhaps your bills are due, there are things you want to buy, or the people you love need cash. We tell ourselves we’ll start saving next year, believing we’ll have more money to spare.

The problem is, next year will bring the same financial responsibilities and temptations, if not more. And saving money — even if it’s just a little at a time — offers us a financial cushion against the unexpected.

The fix: Start slow. Even if it’s only 2% of your income, put it in a savings account and pretend it’s not there. Let’s say you bring home $4,000 per month. After taxes, you have just enough to cover your monthly obligations. Still, you are determined to save 2%, which comes to $80 each month. You cancel a couple of subscriptions and minimize your cell phone bill. By the end of the first year, you have $960. It may not feel like much, but it’s enough to make small car repairs or replace a broken window in your house.

Once you grow accustomed to living without that 2%, you can gradually raise the amount you save. It does grow more comfortable with time.

Lie No. 2: My credit score only matters if I’m