The Institute for Supply Management released its Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for December today, showing activity in the sector expanded in December following manufacturing contraction in November. The index rose to a reading of 50.7% from a prior mark of 49.5%, where numbers above 50% mark expansion and below that, contraction.
The overall U.S. economy also expanded in December, marking the 43rd straight month of general economic growth, according to the ISM.
Even with the positive mark, however, more individual manufacturing industries polled by the ISM reported contraction, rather than expansion, in December. The fiscal cliff drama may have affected performance for the month, with one supply manager from the chemical products industry polled by the ISM reporting, "Uncertainty in additional government regulations and tax climate seems to be slowing orders."
New manufacturing orders reported expansion for the fourth straight month, but growth stagnated; the measure's mark of 50.3% remained unchanged from November. Production also expanded, but at a slower rate, sinking from a rank of 53.7% in November to 52.6% in December.