In September, the ISM manufacturing index rose 1.9 percentage points to 51.5%, exceeding market expectations, which had anticipated the index inching up to only 49.7%. The figure marks a return to positive territory for the manufacturing sector, after the index remained below the 50% threshold during three consecutive months. The September reading reflected improvements in four out of the five sub-categories that compose the index, with new orders and employment recording the largest gains. According to the ISM "comments from the panel reflect a mix of optimism over new orders beginning to pick up, and continued concern over soft global business conditions and an unsettled political environment".
United States PMI
Manufacturing index returns to positive territory
October 1, 2012
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United States PMI Chart
Note: Composite index in the Manufacturing Report on Business (PMI). Readings above 50% indicate an expansion in the manufacturing sector while readings below 50% point to a contraction.
Source: Institute for Supply Management (ISM).
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