Manufacturing activity rises to 7-month high

By Blake Ellis, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Manufacturing activity expanded for a 17th month in a row in December, rising to the highest level in seven months, a purchasing managers' group said Monday.

The Institute for Supply Management's index for manufacturing activity ticked up to 57 in December. That's the highest reading since May and up from 56.6 in November.

The reading came in slightly lower than the 57.3 level expected by a Briefing.com consensus of economists. Any reading of more than 50 indicates expansion in the sector, and the index has remained above this mark for 17 consecutive months.

"We saw significant recovery for much of the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010," said Norbert Ore, chairman of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, in a statement. "The recovery centered on strength in autos, metals, food, machinery, computers and electronics, while those industries tied primarily to housing continue to struggle."

Strong global demand and a weaker dollar has also helped boost manufacturing activity, said Ore.

New orders and production were bright spots in the latest report, and these components are likely to push the index higher in the first quarter of 2011, he said.

The component for new orders rose to 60.9 from 56.6 in November, while the production measure picked up to 60.7 from 55.

The employment component slowed to 55.7 from 57.5. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,232.02 -53.72 -0.29%
Nasdaq 5,089.36 -1.43 -0.03%
S&P 500 2,126.06 0.00 0.00%
Treasuries 2.22 0.03 1.37%
Data as of 4:29am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.75 0.02 0.12%
Hewlett-Packard Co 34.76 0.93 2.75%
Microsoft Corp 46.90 0.00 0.00%
Intel Corp 33.45 -0.10 -0.30%
Frontier Communicati... 5.06 0.10 2.08%
Data as of May 22
Sponsors

Sections

Malaysia Airlines is nearly finished with its tough restructuring plan -- which will include cutting about one-third of its workforce -- in its efforts to recover after two plane tragedies last year. More

The True Cost, a new documentary, chronicles the evils of the clothing industry and asks us to stop buying so much cheap stuff More

Google filed a patent for a toy that will have sensors and cameras, and can control connected devices. More

Sarah Kauss launched S'well to rid the world of plastic water bottles. In five years, she's sold 4 million of her stainless steel bottles. More