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News : US Economy Last Updated: Jan 3, 2011 - 3:48 PM


US manufacturing activity expanded in December for the 17th consecutive month; US construction spending in November rose to the highest level in five months
By Finfacts Team
Jan 3, 2011 - 3:31 PM

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GE Energy’s F-class gas turbine represents the world’s most experienced fleet of highly efficient gas turbines. General Electric’s Greenville, South Carolina plant, seen above, is the largest gas turbine manufacturing plant in the world, with over 3,000 employees producing products for domestic and global export.

US manufacturing activity expanded in December for the 17th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 20th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. Also Monday, a government report showed US construction spending in November rose to the highest level in five months.

Norbert J. Ore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee commented: "The manufacturing sector continued its growth trend as indicated by this month's report. We saw significant recovery for much of the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010. The recovery centered on strength in autos, metals, food, machinery, computers and electronics, while those industries tied primarily to housing continue to struggle. Additionally, manufacturers that export have benefitted from both global demand and the weaker dollar. December's strong readings in new orders and production, combined with positive comments from the panel, should create momentum as we go into the first quarter of 2011."

Performance by Industry

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 11 reported growth in December, in the following order: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Computer & Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Textile Mills; Plastics & Rubber Products; Transportation Equipment; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Chemical Products. The four industries reporting contraction in December are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Paper Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.

Manufacturing continued to grow in December as the PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) registered 57%, an increase of 0.4 percentage point when compared to November's reading of 56.6%. A reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50% indicates that it is generally contracting.

A PMI in excess of 42%, over a period of time, generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. Therefore, the PMI indicates growth for the 20th consecutive month in the overall economy, as well as expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 17th consecutive month. Ore sadded: "The past relationship between the PMI and the overall economy indicates that the average PMI for January through December (57.3%) corresponds to a 5.1% increase in real gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, if the PMI for December (57%) is annualized, it corresponds to a 5% increase in real GDP annually."

The US has set several lofty resolutions for the new year, with Neil Irwin, The Washington Post; Jon Hilsenrath, WSJ; and Thomas Lee, JPMorgan:

Anticipating the Fed minutes tomorrow, and whether economic "organic growth is real," with CNBC's Steve Liesman, Rick Santelli; Thomas Lee, JPMorgan; and Scott Nations, NationShares:

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