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News Link • Business/ Commerce

Manufacturing in U.S. Expands at Fastest Pace Since May 2004

• By Katia Dmitrieva

Highlights of ISM Manufacturing (February)

Factory index climbed to 60.8 (est. 58.7) from 59.1 in prior month; readings above 50 indicate expansion

Employment gauge jumped to a four-month high of 59.7 from 54.2

Measure of new orders eased to 64.2 from 65.4; order backlogs climbed to 59.8 from 56.2

Prices-paid index rose to 74.2, the highest since May 2011, from 72.7

Key Takeaways

The latest advance extends a series of healthy readings in the survey-based measure of manufacturing that's being fueled by improving global economies and firm business investment. It also comes on the heels of a late-year pickup in consumer spending, which advanced in the fourth quarter at the fastest pace in more than a year.

The purchasing managers group's gauge of export orders was the strongest since April 2011. While orders and production were a touch weaker in February than the prior month, the readings are nonetheless robust.