America's manufacturing sector expanded for the 16th month in row finishing its best year since 2004 as production levels and new orders kept factories humming.
The purchasing managers index from the Institute for Supply Management climbed to 59.7 in December, its strongest showing in three months from 58.2 a month earlier. Economists had forecast a score of 581. The 57.6 average in 2017 was the most optimistic manufacturing executives have been since the average annual factory index registered 59.1 14 years ago. Reading above 50 indicate expansion.
The ISM measure of new orders rose to 69.4, the highest in almost 14 years from 64.0 in November. The gauge of production jumped to 65.8 last month from 63.9, for the best reading since May 2010.
Wednesdays figures indicate that the manufacturing strength that has been building for two years will likely continue at least into the first quarter of 2018.
Another factor that should work to enhance sector activity was the tax reform legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Trump. Several of its provision are designed to encourage investment in the U.S and repatriation of overseas profits for American companies.
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