MANUFACTURING

Manufacturing in U.S. grew in Feb. by most since June ‘11

BLOOMBERG FILE PHOTO/TY WRIGHT
MANUFACTURING IN THE U.S. expanded in February at the fastest pace since June 2011, according to the Institute for Supply Management's factory index.
Posted 3/1/13

WASHINGTON - Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded at a faster pace than forecast in February, reaching the highest level since June 2011 as factories boosted production to meet greater demand.

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index advanced to 54.2 last month from 53.1 in January, the Tempe, Ariz.-based group said today. The figures exceeded the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey in which the median projection was 52.5. A reading greater than 50 signals expansion.

Orders expanded the most in almost two years, the report showed, as manufacturers such as Applied Materials Inc. emerged from an industry setback in the second half of 2012. Further production gains would complement a rebound in the housing market and help underpin the economy amid budget disputes in Washington.

“Things are starting to improve for manufacturing, and the improvements are starting to build on each other,” Michael Montgomery, a U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass., said before the report. “Inventory growth has turned the corner. Orders have picked up finally.”

“When you get decent orders, decent production, an inventory correction that’s complete and backlogs picking up, you’ve got the recipe for a period of much better growth,” he said.

Estimates for the ISM index from the 81 economists surveyed ranged from 50.5 to 54. The gauge averaged 51.7 in 2012 and 55.2 in 2011.

China manufacturing

Elsewhere, two Chinese manufacturing indexes showed a slower-than-estimated pace of expansion in February. The official Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50.1 in February, the weakest in five months and down from 50.4 in January, according to a report from the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing today in Beijing. A separate gauge from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics dropped to a four-month low of 50.4 from 52.3.

In the U.K., manufacturing unexpectedly shrank last month as orders plunged. A gauge of factory activity plunged to 47.9, compared with a revised 50.5 in January, Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply said today in London.

Manufacturing in the euro region contracted for a 19th straight month. Markit’s index held in February at 47.9. While the gauge for Germany, the area’s largest economy, climbed to 50.3 from 49.8, Italy’s dropped to 45.8 from 47.8.

Production, orders

Today’s ISM report showed a measure of U.S. production increased to 57.6 from 53.6 in January. The new orders measure climbed to 57.8, the highest since April 2011, from 53.3, and the gauge of export orders advanced to 53.5, the highest since May 2012, from 50.5.

The index of prices paid rose to 61.5 from 56.5 last month.

The measure of orders waiting to be filled increased to 55 from 47.5. The inventory index was little changed at 51.5 after 51, while a gauge of customer stockpiles fell to 46.5 from 48.5. A measure of supplier deliveries decreased to 51.4 from 53.6.

The employment index dropped to 52.6 from 54 the prior month.

Recent regional reports show manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy, made gains last month. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index, which covers New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut, unexpectedly expanded in February at the fastest pace in nine months. A report yesterday from MNI Chicago showed that business activity expanded in February by the most since March.

Next Page
No comments on this story | Add your comment
Please log in or register to add your comment
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Only a few seats remain for PBN's Manufacturing Awards Dinner and Ceremony, Thursday, April 24th, at the Bryant University Bello Center. Don't hesitate. Register today!
  • Business Women
    Accomplished. Confident. Wicked Smart. Nominate women you know who deserve speci ...
  • 40 Under Forty
    It's the 10th Anniversary of 40 Under Forty, and PBN is planning a special event ...
  • Healthiest Employers
    Enrollment now open for the 2014 Healthiest Employers Program. Please take a mom ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News