US manufacturing sector expands

Washington, Feb 2 (IANS) The US manufacturing sector continued to expand in January, boosted by rise in new orders, evidence of an ongoing economic recovery, a leading industry survey showed.

The US Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Friday said the manufacturing index, also known as the purchasing managers index (PMI), rose from the revised reading of 50.2 percent in December 2012 to 53.1 in January, reported Xinhua.

A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing sector is generally expanding, while a reading below 50 percent indicates contraction.

The new orders index rose to 53.3 percent last month from 49.7 in December. The production index stood at 53.6 percent in January, an increase from 52.6 percent in December.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 13 reported growth last month including electrical equipment and machinery. Four industries reported contraction such as chemical products, according to the ISM.

Manufacturing has been a bright spot in output and employment since the recession ended in June 2009. But the sector has shown signs of fluctuation in recent months.

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