Inching ahead by 0.2 point to 63.6%, the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index rose for the eighth straight month. A reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50% signifies that it's generally contracting.
New orders and production remained strong, suggesting that the manufacturers are experiencing a much-needed recovery, says Norbert Ore, chair of the institute's manufacturing business survey committee and group director, strategic sourcing and procurement, for Georgia Pacific Corp.
While some sectors of the manufacturing economy reported sluggish employment, that wasn't the case for the institute's category that includes IT--Industrial and Commercial Equipment and Computers. It was one of eight of 20 industries to report employment growth. Overall, the employment index slipped 0.6 point to 52.9%.