Manufacturing Sector Makes Gains

Highest Levels Since May 2010

U.S. manufacturingU.S. manufacturing is expanding, making stateside producers a more attractive market for advertising specialty distributors to target. A report released Monday highlighted manufacturing’s momentum, revealing that the sector’s activity sped forward in February, rising to its highest level since May 2010.

Last month, the U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 57.1, beating analysts’ expectations of 56.6 and besting a preliminary reading that initially put the month’s high mark at 56.7. February’s strong showing represents a robust rebound from January when brutal winter weather drove the index down to 53.7, the lowest score in three months. Readings above 50 indicate that the sector is growing.

“While bad weather continued to hamper production at many companies in February, many also reported that weather-related issues were being overcome,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, the financial information and services firm that developed the index. “The upturn pushes the trend over the last three months to the strongest since May 2012, suggesting that the sector maintained robust underlying growth momentum throughout the winter months."

In an indication that the good news on manufacturing could continue into the spring, the new orders component of the index jumped from 53.9 to 59.6. That’s the highest reading for the subindex in nearly four years. Also encouraging, Markit said, is that the manufacturing sector’s output increased last month from 53.5 to 57.8, the highest tally since March 2011.