Manufacturing unseasonably strong in December, poll shows

Jan 03, 2011 | 11:38 AM |

Economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded for the 17th consecutive month in December, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said Monday, with the purchasing managers index (PMI) climbing to 57 points—the highest level since 59.7 last May—from 56.6 in November.

Metal industry players echoed the views among ISM members that December was unusually strong, especially considering the shorter month and severe weather throughout the Midwest, East Coast and even the Southeast. "The end of the year is surprisingly busy," a survey respondent in the electronics industry said.

"We saw significant recovery for much of the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010, centered on strength in autos, metals, food, machinery, computers and electronics, while those industries tied primarily to housing continued to struggle," Norbert J. Ore, chairman of the ISM's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said Monday. "December's strong readings in new orders and production should create momentum as we go into the first quarter of 2011."....

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