U.S. Manufacturing Sector Shows Strong Growth

PMI Index at highest rate since May 2004

Manufacturing continued to grow in January as the PMI registered 60.8%, an increase of 2.3 percentage points when compared to December's seasonally adjusted reading of 58.5%, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

"Todays ISM report on manufacturing clearly shows that momentum is again building for this sector, after somewhat slower growth in the fall due to the normal inventory swing, and that growth is being driven by improving demand," said Thomas J. Duesterberg, CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. "New orders were strong, driven by exports, by technology and by consumer purchases of autos, computers, mobile phones, and other equipment. Capital equipment sales are building, especially in areas like mining and drilling equipment, industrial machinery and aerospace.

"Employment prospects are improving, but will be limited by the continuing productivity surge," he added. "Construction is still lagging, and limits demand for building materials and puts a damper on employment prospects. Overall, this report suggests that manufacturing will continue to lead the recovery at least through mid-year."

The New Orders Index registered 67.8% in January, which is an increase of 5.8 percentage points when compared to the seasonally adjusted 62% reported in December. This is the 19th consecutive month of growth in the New Orders Index.

The Production Index registered 63.5% in January, which is an increase of 0.5 percentage point from the December reading of 63% (seasonally adjusted).

The Employment Index registered 61.7% in January, which is 2.8 percentage points higher than the seasonally adjusted 58.9% reported in December. This is the 16th consecutive month of growth in manufacturing employment.

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