Report: U.S. manufacturing sector strongest it's been in seven years

Institute for Supply Management's Purchasing Managers Index registers 60.8 percent for January 2011, the 18th straight month of expansion.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM, Tempe, Ariz., USA) on Feb. 1 reported that economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in January 2011 for the 18th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 21st consecutive month. ISM's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered 60.8 percent, following a December value of 57.0 percent. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting.

The report was issued by Norbert J. Ore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “The manufacturing sector grew at a faster rate in January as the PMI registered 60.8 percent, which is its highest level since May 2004 when the index registered 61.4 percent. The continuing strong performance is highlighted as January is also the sixth consecutive month of month-over-month growth in the sector. New orders and production continue to be strong, and employment rose above 60 percent for the first time since May 2004. Global demand is driving commodity prices higher, particularly for energy, metals and chemicals.”

12-month ISM Manufacturing Index history (percent):

  • January 2011: 60.8
  • December 2010: 57.0
  • November 2010: 56.6
  • October 2010: 56.9
  • September 2010: 54.4
  • August 2010: 56.3
  • July 2010: 55.5
  • June 2010: 56.2
  • May 2010: 59.7
  • April 2010: 60.4
  • March 2010: 59.6
  • February 2010: 56.5