Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in January for the 18th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 20th consecutive month, according to the latest, "Manufacturing Report On Business," from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM)
The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered 60.8 in January, up from 58.5 in December. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector.
"The manufacturing sector grew at a faster rate in January as the PMI registered 60.8%, which is its highest level since May 2004 when the index registered 61.4%," said Norbert J. Ore, ISM chairman.
January was also the sixth consecutive month of month-over-month growth in manufacturing, he added
"New orders and production continue to be strong, and employment rose above 60% for the first time since May 2004. Global demand is driving commodity prices higher, particularly for energy, metals and chemicals," Ore explained.
The PMI is compiled from a monthly survey of purchasing managers and based on five major indicators: new orders, production, supplier deliveries, inventories and the employment environment.
Of the 18 manufacturing industries surveyed, 14 reported growth in January, ranging from petroleum/coal products and primary metals to computers/electronic products and food/beverage/tobacco products. Only four sectors reported contraction in January: textile mills, printing and related support activities, plastics/rubber products, and nonmetallic mineral products.