Manufacturing ended 2013 on an optimistic note, according to an Institute for Supply Management report released today.
After November's 2013 record-high-index reading of 57.3%, December's index clocked in at 57%, exactly matching analyst expectations. Based on surveys of purchasing managers, a reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding, while below 50% indicates that it is generally contracting.
On a component-by-component basis, another 0.6-point boost in new orders to 64.2 marks the highest reading since April 2010. Production remains strong at 62.2 and employment edged up 0.4 points to 56.9.
Of the 18 reporting manufacturing industries, 13 reported growth, with the furniture and plastics-and-rubber industries leading the improvement. Meanwhile, four industries reported contractions, with "non-metallic mineral products" and machinery bringing up the rear.