Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in January for the second consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 44th consecutive month, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

The Purchasing Mangers Index (PMI) registered 53.1%, an increase of 2.9 percentage points from December’s seasonally adjusted reading of 50.2%, indicating expansion in manufacturing for the second consecutive month.

A reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50% indicates that it is generally contracting.

The New Orders Index registered 53.3%, an increase of 3.6% over December’s seasonally adjusted reading of 49.7%, indicating growth in new orders. Manufacturing is starting out the year on a positive note, with all five of the PMI’s component indexes new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries and inventories registering above 50% in January.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 13 are reporting growth in January in the following order: Plastics & Rubber Products; Textile Mills; Furniture & Related Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Fabricated Metal Products; Transportation Equipment; Petroleum & Coal Products; Machinery; Primary Metals; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products.

The four industries reporting contraction in January are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Wood Products; and Chemical Products.

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