Economic activity in the US manufacturing sector
expanded in December for the seventh consecutive month, and the overall economy
grew for the 55th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the
latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. In a separate PMI (purchasing
managers' index) survey from Markit, the UK markets data firm, business
conditions in the US manufacturing sector improved at the fastest rate since
January. According to the final December Markit US Manufacturing PMI index, at
55.0, up from 54.7 in November and above the earlier flash estimate of 54.4, the
PMI indicated a solid rate of expansion.
Bradley J. Holcomb, chair of the Institute for
Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee said: "The PMI
registered 57%, the second highest reading for the year, just 0.3 percentage
point below November's reading of 57.3%. The New Orders Index increased in
December by 0.6 percentage point to 64.2%, which is its highest reading since
April 2010 when it registered 65.1%.
The Employment Index registered 56.9%, an increase of 0.4 percentage point
compared to November's reading of 56.5%. December's employment reading is the
highest since June 2011 when the Employment Index registered 59%. 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
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.
Markit said its PMI averaged 53.8 in the three months to December and, above the
average for the three months to September of 53.2, was the highest since the
first three months of the year. Production in the manufacturing sector continued
to rise strongly in December. The rate of growth was well above the series
average and the fastest since March 2012.
All three market groups (consumer, intermediate and investment) posted higher
levels of output in December, with manufacturers of investment goods posting the
fastest rate of increase.
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