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Manufacturing Expands for 17th Consecutive Month, ISM Reports

The manufacturing sector grew for the 17th consecutive month in December, and the economy improved overall for the 20th consecutive month, according to the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

"The manufacturing sector continued its growth trend as indicated by this month's report. We saw significant recovery for much of the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010. The recovery centered on strength in autos, metals, food, machinery, computers, and electronics, while those industries tied primarily to housing continue to struggle. Additionally, manufacturers that export have benefitted from both global demand and the weaker dollar. December's strong readings in new orders and production, combined with positive comments from the panel, should create momentum as we go into the first quarter of 2011," said Norbert J. Ore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

Eleven of 18 manufacturing sectors reported growth in December, including apparel, primary metals, machinery, computers and electronics, food and beverage, textile mills, plastics and rubber, and chemical products. Four industries contracted: nonmetallic minerals, paper, printing, and miscellaneous manufacturing.

Respondents offered varied points of view of the situation:
• "The end of the year is surprisingly busy." (Computer & Electronic Products)
• "Business remains slow, while vendors clamor for increases that should have no foundation in economics." (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)
• "Company outlook looks positive into 2011. Solid revenue growth across the globe driven by strong volume in Q3 and Q4 2010." (Chemical Products)

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