growing level of inventories compared to sales over the last several months. We will see discounting and incentives continue over the next several months in an effort to move goods off company balance sheets. Lastly, we see continued contraction in manufacturing and services activity, according to the ISM index. The headline index fell below 50 in November 2022 and hasn’t recovered from that slide. Manufacturing services dipped into contractionary territory to 49.2 in December 2022 and recovered, but signs suggest that that index, too, will slump into contractionary territory in the coming periods. Over the last two months, the manufacturing sector responded to the slowdown by holding payrolls essentially flat; February’s initial payroll number of -4,000 was revised upward to -1,000 and March’s payroll figure also came in at -1,000. Manufacturers are loath to lay off workers after struggling so hard to increase staffing since the pandemic. Due to the difficulty in hiring, companies that can withstand the slowdown will work to retain workers for longer to have the necessary capacity when activity picks up again. That may not occur until sometime in early 2024 when the Fed may seek to soften rates.