The December Manufacturing Report on Business from the Institute for Supply Management shows that activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in that month for the 17th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 20th consecutive month. The ISM surveys the nations supply executives each month to analyze activity. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for December stood at 56.0, up 0.4% from November, showing continued growth even though it’s a small uptick. With 50 as the benchmark, numbers above 50 indicate growth, while numbers below 50 show a contraction.
“The manufacturing sector continued its growth trend as indicated by this month’s report,” commented Norbert J. Ore, chair of the ISM. “We saw significant recovery for much of the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010. The recovery centered on strength in autos, metals, food, machinery, computers and electronics, which those industries tied to primarily to housing continue to struggle. Additionally, manufacturers that export have benefitted from both global demand and the weaker dollar. December’s strong readings in new orders and production, combined with positive comments from the panel, should create momentum as we go into the first quarter of 2011.”...