U.S. Manufacturing Keeps on Growing -- 17 Months in a Row

Manufacturing production has increased 11% from its June 2009 trough.

Capping a strong year in the sector that is leading the economic recovery from recession, U.S. manufacturing grew again in December according to a survey released on Jan. 3 by The Institute for Supply Management. Its manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 57% last month, the best reading since May.

"The ISM report shows that manufacturing activity is maintaining relatively strong growth momentum that is allowing the industry to recover from the devastating recession," said Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. " Manufacturing production has increased 11% from its June 2009 trough but still has another 9% to go before it reaches previous production peak of December 2007.

"The components of the December PMI index show a generally encouraging picture," he added. "A surge in orders and production that is driven by fundamentals rather than inventory rebuilding is a solid base to maintain a recovery. The strong U.S. manufacturing performance and robust growth in Asian manufacturing has put upward pressure on commodity prices that are being reflected in rising U.S. producer prices. The Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI remains optimistic about the continuation of the industrial recovery and predicts that manufacturing production will increase 4% in 2011."

New orders rose 4.3 percentage points from November and production jumped 5.7 points, the ISM said.

The ISM prices index surged to 72.5% in December, up 3.0 points from November, as prices rose on all reported commodities, excluding natural gas.

The employment index, however, slipped 1.8 points to 55.7%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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