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If the level of usage of the nation's factories, mines, and utilities is any indication, the United States economy is indeed moving at a slower pace. For the second consecutive month, usage of capacity fell. The Federal Reserve Board reported Wednesday that US industry operated at 81.9 percent capacity in September, down from 82.6 percent in August. The August rate was revised to show a slight decline from the July level.

These declines are the first since the US began recovering from the recession in November 1982. On Tuesday, the Fed reported industrial production fell 0.6 percent in September.

Some economists contend a slowdown makes possible a more sustainable level of growth. Others argue that slowing portends recession.

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