Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in February for the third straight month, and the overall economy grew for the 45th consecutive month, according to the most recent Manufacturing Report on Business from the Institute for Supply Management.

For the second straight month, all five of the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) sectors saw growth – new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries and inventories. Of the 18 total manufacturing industries, 15 reported growth in February.

The PMI rose from 53.1 percent in January to 54.2 percent in February, its highest mark since June 2011, when it reached 55.8 percent. The indexes for backlog of orders, exports and imports all grew in February. With the overall PMI expanding for a third straight month, the report suggests there is reason for optimism, as the manufacturing industry continues to recover and the economy stabilizes.