Business activity in the U.S. Midwest contracted this month for the first time since September 2009, as new orders sank, a report showed on Friday.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business barometer fell to 49.7 from 53.0 in August. Economists had forecast an unchanged reading of 53.

A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the regional economy.

The forward-looking new orders index plummeted to 47.4, from 54.8. while the gauge of employment sank to 52.0 from 57.1 last month.