The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released its monthly report today on economic activity in the manufacturing sector for the month of January, with the following highlights:
1. Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded for the 18th consecutive month in January, and the overall economy grew for the 20th consecutive month.
2. The composite PMI increased last month to 60.8%, a 2.3 point increase from 58.5% in December, and the highest level for the PMI since May 2004 (see chart above).
3. According to the ISM, "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."
4. The ISM Employment Index increased in January to 61.7%, which is the 16th consecutive month of growth in manufacturing employment and the highest reading for the ISM manufacturing employment index since April of 1973.
5. The New Export Orders Index increased to 62% in January, marking the 19th consecutive month of growth in export orders.