Factories Post Fastest Growth in Two Years in January

(CN) – The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its manufacturing index reached 56.0 in January, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from December, and a sign of an acceleration in factory output.

Thursday’s numbers from the Institute, a trade group of purchasing managers, are the highest the index has reached since Nov. 2014, when it hit 57.6.

A number above 50 percent indicates that manufacturing is expanding; anything below 50 percent indicates activity in the manufacturing sector is contracting.

Manufacturing has now grown for five straight months and for 10 of the last 11 months, the Institute said.

The report also said the Institute’s new orders Index, which includes companies in apparel, chemical products, and paper products, among others, came in at 60.4 percent in January, an increase of 0.1 percent in December.

Meanwhile, the group’s employment index reached 56.1 percent, an increase of 3.3 percent from December.