The ISM manufacturing index was right in line with expectations at 57, up a touch from 56.6 in Nov and the best since May. New Orders rose 4.3 pts to 60.9, Production was up 5.7 pts to 60.7 and Backlogs rose 1 pt but is still soft at 47. Manufacturer Inventories fell 5 pts from last mo’s highest level since ’84 while inventories at the customer level fell to the lowest since July. Two key areas were a bit softer, Employment moderated to 55.7 from 57.5, to the lowest since March and Export Orders fell 2.5 pts to 54.5, matching the lowest since July ’09. Prices Paid is also an issue as it rose 3 pts to the highest since May. Of the 18 industries surveyed, just 11 reported growth. The ISM said “the recovery centered on strength in autos, metals, food, machinery, computers/electronics, while those tied primarily to housing continue to struggle. Additionally, mfr’s that export have benefited from both global demand and the weaker $.”
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