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Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in December for the seventh consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 55th consecutive month, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business. The PMI registered 57 percent, the second-highest reading for the year, just 0.3 percentage point below November's reading of 57.3 percent.
The report, issued by Bradley Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, saw the New Orders Index increase in December by 0.6 percentage point to 64.2 percent, its highest reading since April 2010.
The Employment Index registered 56.9 percent, an increase of 0.4 percentage point compared to November's reading of 56.5 percent. December's employment reading is the highest since June 2011.
Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 13 are reporting growth in December in the following order: Furniture & Related Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Textile Mills; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Paper Products; Transportation Equipment; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Wood Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing. The four industries reporting contraction in December are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Machinery; Chemical Products; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components.
Comments from the panel generally reflect a solid final month of the year, capping off the second half of 2013, which was characterized by continuous growth and momentum in manufacturing.