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US Manufacturing Industry Ends Year on High Note: ISM

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US Manufacturing Industry Ends Year on High Note: ISM

Manufacturing activity in the United States expanded for the seventh consecutive month in December, led by growth in new orders, production and employment.

The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of manufacturing activity eased to 57.0 in December, after reaching a high of 57.3 in November. A reading above 50.0 indicates expansion in manufacturing activity, whereas a reading below that level signifies contraction.

In total, 13 of the 18 manufacturing industries expanded in December, led by furniture and related products, plastics and rubber products and textile mills. New orders expanded at a faster pace than the previous month, while production eased from the November high. Managers said orders expanded at the fastest pace since April 2010, as companies added more workers to account for the new demand.

Domestic demand kept the manufacturing economy elevated toward the end of 2013, as stronger business investment and growing demand for building materials drove business activity for US manufacturers. The export market cooled, but remained in expansion mode, as manufacturers took advantage of broad recoveries in Europe and Asia.

“Amazingly enough, we are seeing meaningful increases in our sales in nearly all segments and regions,” said one manager from apparel, leather and allied products. Overall, business conditions are strong nationally and internationally, said another manager from computer and electronic products. “Markets are sound,” said a representative from wood products who typically experiences a seasonal slowdown in the fourth quarter.

Accounting for roughly 12 percent of US gross domestic product, manufacturing has propelled recovery for the world’s largest economy. The US economy expanded for the 55th consecutive month in December, led by consumption, construction spending and improved business activity.

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