Washington (AFP) – U.S. manufacturing expanded in September for the fourth month in a row, pointing to a pick-up in the sector, an industry survey released Tuesday showed.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its purchasing managers index for manufacturing activity rose to 56.2 percent in September from 55.7 percent in August.
The September PMI reading surprised analysts, who had forecast a pullback from August to 55.0.
“Another stronger-than-expected showing. The index is up sharply from 50.2, on average, in Q2,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.
“The data unambiguously point to a pick-up in the trend in manufacturing output growth.”
The PMI index’s half point gain in September was led by a 2.1 point month-on-month jump in the employment sub-index.
Production edged up 0.2 point, while new orders fell 2.7 points. All three of the index’s sub-components remained in growth territory.