Manufacturing grew in February despite disruptions in the supply chain from poor weather, the Institute for Supply Management reported today. The monthly PMI index increased 1.9% to 53.2% in February from 51.3 in January.
The overall U.S. economy grew for the 57th consecutive month, ISM noted.
While the production index dipped to 48.2% in February from 54.8% the previous month, the new orders index increased 3.3 percentage points to 54.4%. Inventories of raw materials also grew, by 8.5 percentage points to 52.5%.
"The acceleration in manufacturing activity in February, resulting from a sharp dip in production coupled with gain in new orders, supports the notion that much of the weakness in economic data is weather related," said James Marple, a senior economist with TD Economics. "Following January's disappointing number, the rebound in new orders is particularly encouraging and suggests that businesses are managing through the poor weather and expecting greater demand in the months ahead."
Of the 18 manufacturing industries tracked by ISM, 14 reported growth in February, led by textile mills, wood products and machinery.
The employment index held steady at 52.3%, the same as in January, and represents the eighth month of manufacturing hiring improvement.