The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported this morning that its manufacturing survey rose to 50.7% in December, up 1.2% from November's reading of 49.5%. The rise is only the third in the past seven months. A reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is expanding. The consensus estimate for the manufacturing index was 50.5%.
The new orders index was unchanged from November, at 50.3%. The production index fell from 53.7% to 52.6%, the third straight month of expansion.
The employment index rose to 52.7% in December, up 4.3% from November, marking the return to a streak of growth that began in September 2009 and that was interrupted by a decline in November.
The new orders for export index was rose to 51.5%, returning to expansion mode following a six-month period of contraction.
Among comments from manufacturers, ISM noted these:
Many Chinese sources are coming to us with cost reductions to maintain their current business volumes. (Machinery)
Black Friday was good, but forward economic visibility is foggy. (Computer & Electronic Products)
Business conditions have flattened out since last month. Overall production has leveled off from their previous reduction last month. (Transportation Equipment)
We are seeing stabilization of orders and costs as well as production capacity for the first time in months. (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)
The ISM report is available here.
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