Read 'Manufacturing Activity Continues 17-Month Expansion' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Adding to a number of recent optimistic reports regarding the gradually improving national economy, U.S. manufacturing activity grew for the 17th consecutive month in December and reached its highest level since May of 2010.
The Institute for Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity reached 57 for the month - up from 56.6 in November. Although December's figures did not reach the 57.3 anticipated by a Briefing.com survey among economists.
"We saw significant recovery for much of the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010," said Norbert Ore, chairman of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "The recovery centered on strength in autos, metals, food, machinery, computers and electronics, while those industries tied primarily to housing continue to struggle."
Europe, China and India also saw gains in their respective manufacturing sectors, suggesting a growth in demand worldwide.
As U.S. manufacturing employs one in six private sector workers, the industry is seen as a critical component to a healthy economy. Coupled with improvements in small business lending, gains in factory output may spell improved conditions in 2011 for starting a business.