The Institute of Supply Management's monthly reading on the U.S. manufacturing sector came in at 50.7 in December, moving the index off its 2012 low of 49.5 in November. The index is compiled from a survey of manufacturing supply managers, and any number above 50 indicates the sector is growing.
The December expansion marked only the third time the sector grew in the last seven months.
New manufacturing orders grew for the fourth consecutive month, even though some respondents worried about tax implications in the new year and global economic conditions.
"We are seeing stabilization of orders and costs as well as production capacity for the first time in months," one of the manufacturers, interviewed for the survey, said.
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