The Institute for Supply Management reported that its manufacturing index rose to 35.6 in January from 32.9 in December. Any reading above 50 signals growth, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.
While the increase in the index for January showed a significant improvement, "it is still a sign of continuing weakness in the (manufacturing) sector," said Norbert Ore, chairman of the Institute's manufacturing business survey committee. He noted "that it will take a recovery in automobiles and housing for the manufacturing sector to once again prosper."
He added that the index continues to show significant deflation of the prices manufacturers must pay for materials, which ultimately should help consumers.
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