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U.S. manufacturing picks up steam

Feb. 3 (UPI) — U.S. business activity at manufacturing firms picked up significantly in January, the Institute of Supply Management said Friday.

The headline Purchasing Managers Index rose from 50.2 in December to 53.1 in January, climbing for the second consecutive month as all five components that make up the index showed growth in the month.

The index uses 50 percent as the dividing line between growth and contraction.

The components of new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries and inventories all came in above 50, ISM said.

The new orders index rose from 49.7 to 53.3, pulling away from a contraction. The production index rose from 52.6 to 53.6, showing growth for the fifth consecutive month. The employment index, in the black for 40 consecutive months, rose from 51.9 to 54. The supplier deliveries index, showing growth for three months, rose eased slightly from 53.7 to 53.6. The inventories index rebounded from 43 in December, indicating contraction, to 51.

The ISM said 13 of 18 manufacturing sectors reported growth in the month.

The growth industries included plastics and rubber products; textile mills; furniture and related products; printing; apparel; electrical equipment and appliances; fabricated metal products; transportation equipment; petroleum and coal; machinery; primary metals; and food, beverage and tobacco products.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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