By Cheryl Ganim, Manager, and Kristen Hart, Co-op

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in January for the second consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 44th consecutive month, according to the most recent Manufacturing Report on Business from the Institute for Supply Management.

Despite uncertainty about the fiscal cliff and EU economic weakness, a Midwest drought, slowing interest in high-dollar purchases, low government spending, and a decline in exports of 10 percent, the manufacturing sector has seen growth, in part because of high expenditures and investments, upward trending housing sales, and improving optimism in the appliance market.

Although backlog orders saw a contraction of one percent and customer orders were deemed too low in January, all five of the Purchasing Manager’s Index components are registering above 50 percent, which indicates growth. With the overall PMI reading of 53.1 percent (almost three percentage points higher than the previous month,) and 13 out of 18 manufacturing industries expanding, the report suggests that the manufacturing sector is off to a strong start in 2013.


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