2011 closes strong as clothing leads December factory growth

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The monthly report on factory activity from the Institute for Supply Management shows a little increase in manufacturing for December.

“Manufacturing is finishing out the year on a positive note, with new orders, production and employment all growing in December at faster rates than in November, and with an optimistic view toward the beginning of 2012, as reflected by the panel in this month’s survey,” says ISM’s Bradley Holcomb.

In recent months more sectors usually show growth than contraction, but that wasn’t the case in December. Nine went up, nine went down.

The niches that expanded, in order: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Textile Mills; Petroleum & Coal Products; Machinery; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Primary Metals; and Paper Products.

Those contracting, in order: Plastics & Rubber Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Furniture & Related Products; Chemical Products; Wood Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Fabricated Metal Products; Transportation Equipment; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components.

To quantify the December gain in manufacturing, ISM’s Purchasing Managers Index registered 53.9 percent, an increase of 1.2 points from November’s reading of 52.7 percent. That indicates manufacturing expansion for the 29th consecutive month.