By Kendra Mossburger, Manager, and Chris Sieber, Co-op

The manufacturing sector is once again in a state of growth, following modest contraction during four of the previous six months, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s most recent Manufacturing Report on Business. While the previous six months of industry data painted an uncertain picture, the December 2012 report seems to suggest a smoother road ahead for the manufacturing sector.

Many of the indices highlighted in the ISM report show promise for the manufacturing sector as a whole: the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) read above 50 percent in December, indicating that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; the New Export Orders Index increased by 4.5 percentage points, representing its first month of growth since May 2012; and the Imports Index increased by 3.5 percentage points for the first time since July 2012. Other indices point to an increase in sales, orders and deliveries.

The index whose decrease alarmed many in November – the Employment Index – showed growth in December with an increase of 4.3 percentage points.

While the manufacturing sector as a whole showed positive growth in December, concerns still linger over the nation’s increasing debt, uncertain tax policies, and monetary policy.

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