U.S. manufacturing expands slightly in December

After a slight dip in November, the U.S. manufacturing economy expanded slightly in December, continuing a generally positive trend.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM, Tempe, Arizona) reported on Jan. 2 that economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in December, following one month of contraction, while the overall economy grew for the 43rd consecutive month. ISM's index registerd 50.7 percent for December. A reading of more than 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; less than 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting.

The report was issued by Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “The PMI registered 50.7 percent, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from November’s reading of 49.5 percent, indicating expansion in manufacturing for only the third time in the last seven months. This month’s PMI reading moved manufacturing off its low point for 2012 in November. The New Orders Index remained at 50.3 percent, the same rate as in November, indicating growth in new orders for the fourth consecutive month. The Production Index registered 52.6 percent, a decrease of 1.1 percentage points, indicating growth in production for the third consecutive month. The Employment Index registered 52.7 percent, an increase of 4.3 percentage points, indicating a resumption of growth in employment following only one month of contraction since September 2009. Both the Exports and Imports Indexes registered 51.5 percent, returning both indexes to growth territory following consecutive periods of contraction of six and four months, respectively. Comments from the panel this month are mixed, with some indicating a strengthening of demand and others indicating a continuing softness in demand. Additionally, many respondents express uncertainty about government regulations, taxes and global economics in general as we approach 2013.”

Last 12 months:

  • December 2013: 50.7
  • November 2012: 49.5
  • October 2012: 51.7
  • September 2012: 51.5
  • August 2012: 49.6
  • July 2012: 49.8
  • June 2012: 49.7
  • May 2012: 53.5
  • April 2012: 54.8
  • March 2012: 53.4
  • February 2012: 52.4
  • January 2012: 54.1