WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. factory activity shrank in January for the fourth straight month as a strong dollar and weak demand overseas pinched American manufacturers, a private survey says.

WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. factory activity shrank in January for the fourth straight month as a strong dollar and weak demand overseas pinched American manufacturers, a private survey says.

The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index ticked up to 48.2 from a revised 48 in December, but any reading below 50 signals a contraction. The index has been below 50 since September.

Factory exports and employment fell in January, though new orders and production grew for the first time since October.

Prospects for the global economy have been dimmed by a sharp economic deceleration in China, which has, in turn, hurt emerging economies that have supplied China with materials. Low oil prices have caused energy companies to cut back investment. And the strong dollar has made U.S. goods more expensive overseas.