FACTORY ACTIVITY DECLINES: U.S. manufacturing shrank for the second straight month in July. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of manufacturing activity ticked up to 49.8, from 49.7 in June. But any reading below 50 indicates contraction.

MORE SLUGGISHNESS: The reading points toward more slow growth but not another recession. The trade group says the index needs to fall below 43 to signal a recession is likely.

HIRING SLOWS: Factories hired at a slower pace than in June, while the decline in new orders slowed. Export orders fell to the lowest level since April 2009.