The manufacturing sector grew for the 18th consecutive month, according to the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. The economy overall expanded for the 20th consecutive month. The PMI measured 60.8.
"The manufacturing sector grew at a faster rate in January as the PMI registered 60.8 percent, which is its highest level since May 2004 when the index registered 61.4 percent. 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," said Norbert J. Ore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management™ Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
Fourteen of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in January. Petroleum and coal products, primary metals, and apparel and related items experienced the most growth. Textiles, printing and related activities, plastics and rubber, and nonmetallic minerals contracted.
Respondents said the following:
• "January/February sales will be decent, and we see a strong March. We're cautiously optimistic but reluctant to hire." (Fabricated Metal Products)
• "Continued weakness in the dollar is having a negative effect on the components we purchase overseas and increasing our material costs." (Transportation Equipment)
• "Lead times are increasing significantly, and commodity pricing is starting to increase." (Chemical Products)
• "We continue to see unexpected strength in many non-U.S. markets." (Fabricated Metal Products)