8 January 2010 | Jake Kanter
Activity in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors in the US was positive last month as economic conditions improved.
According to the latest Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Report on Business – where a figure above 50 represents growth – non-manufacturing industries registered 50.1 per cent in December. This was 1.4 percentage points higher than the month before.
Non-manufacturing activity has now increased for three of the past four months. Industries reporting growth included agriculture, retail, professional services and finance and insurance.
Despite these positive signs, some industries counted in the non-manufacturing survey are in decline. These include construction and arts, entertainment and recreation.
Overall, production activity and new orders expanded, but staff numbers and order backlogs remained in decline.
The manufacturing ISM Report on Business also continued to show improvements. The industry registered 55.9 per cent last month, compared with 53.6 per cent in November.
New orders soared to 65.5 in December, a 5.2 percentage point increase on the month before. Production rates also rose from 59.9 per cent to 61.8 per cent in the final two months of the year.
“Business remains steady and strong,” one respondent said.