Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Manufacturing activity in the U.S. jumped for the third straight month in August to its highest level in 2013, according to a monthly industry survey released Tuesday.
The Institute of Supply Management (ISM)’s manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) climbed to 55.7 in August, the highest since the June 2011 reading of 55.8. A number above 50 suggests expanding activity. The increase from the previous month’s 55.4 level was boosted partly by new orders, which posted their strongest performance in more than two years.
Analysts found the rise as unexpected as they had forecast on average that the index would fall to 53.6.
The pickup in the manufacturing sector in the second-half of the year comes as the nation’s major trading partners in Europe and China have shown signs of improvement.
The new orders index rose 4.9 percentage points in August to 63.2, the highest mark since April 2011. The index for prices increased by 5.0 points to 54.0, attributed to overall rise in raw materials prices, according to ISM. The employment index fell 1.1 points to 53.3 and the production reading declined 2.6 points to 62.4.
Last month, 15 of the 18 manufacturing industries monitored posted growth.
Some industries, such as computers and electronic products as well as transportation equipment, posted some weaknesses after feeling the impact of government budget cuts known as the sequester law.