U.S. Manufacturing Is Still Growing

November's growth is at a slower pace however.

For a 16th consecutive month in November, the manufacturing sector expanded, The Institute of Supply Management reported on Dec. 1. Its purchasing managers' index stood at 56.6% last month, the second-fastest rate of growth in the last six months.

That was slightly better than expectations of PMI at 56.5% and a tick below October's PMI of 56.9%.

Over the past 12 months, the strongest growth occurred in April, with the PMI at 60.4%.

"After a surge early in the year driven by the inventory swing and material shortages caused by the inability to return to production fast enough, the pace of manufacturing activity has slowed at yearend to a moderate, more sustainable rate," said Daniel J. Meckstroth, Chief Economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI.

"Signs that manufacturing employment will grow, slowing supplier deliveries, low customer inventories, and a foreign trade balance that is turning more in the United States' favor are all hopeful indicators coming from the November report on manufacturing," he added. "The ISM report is consistent with MAPI's forecast of moderate manufacturing growth in 2011."

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