The Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI's December 2009 composite index rose to 57 percent from 38 percent in September, the highest level since March 2008, and the first time in six quarters it rose above 50 percent. The reading indicates overall manufacturing activity is expected to grow in the next three to six months.
"Since many of the indexes are based on comparisons with activity in the fourth quarter of 2008, during which manufacturing sector activity had taken a sharp downward turn, the improvement in the composite index is not, by itself, evidence of a meaningful recovery," said Donald. A. Norman, MAPI economist. "The extent to which the individual indexes improved, however, along with the significant increases in the forward looking annual orders and investment indexes, provide the strongest indication to date that the manufacturing sector is on the upswing."