Economic activity in manufacturing dips slightly

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector dipped slightly - by 0.3 percentage point - to 57.0 percent in December, but remains on the expansion side of the benchmark of 50. This is the seventh consecutive month that the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) Manufacturing Report on Business has shown expansion.

"The PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) registered 57 percent, the second highest reading for the year," said Bradley Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "December's employment reading is the highest since June 2011 when the Employment Index registered 59 percent."

Comments from survey respondents show overall optimism, with one respondent from the fabricated metal products sector noting, "Largest backlog ever. Most orders waiting on customer approvals."

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