Manufacturing in U.S. Expands by Most Since 2004

Manufacturing expanded in March at the fastest pace since July 2004, indicating factories will be a source of strength for the U.S. recovery in coming months., Bloomberg 4/1/2010 11:12:29 AM

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 59.6,from 56.5 in February. Readings above 50 signal expansion. The Tempe, Arizona-based group’s gauge of exports rose to the highest level since 1989, while orders and production increased at faster rates last month.

Rising demand in the U.S. and Asia, combined with the need to restock inventories, is giving a boost to companies from Honeywell International Inc. to Boeing Co. A factory rebound may also help propel employment gains throughout the economy, one reason analysts anticipate a government report tomorrow will show payrolls rose this month by the most in three years.

American factories are sharing in a manufacturing revival that extends from Asia to Europe as the global economy rebounds. In China, manufacturing expanded for a 13th month, while European factories grew at the fastest pace since November 2006, figures released today showed.

The U.S. ISM’s gauge of export orders jumped to 61.5 in March, the highest since September 1989, from 56.5. The production index rose to 61.1 from 58.4 the prior month, and new orders index increased to 61.5 from 59.5.

The supplier delivery gauge, a measure of the time it takes to receive goods, rose to 64.9 from 61.1 the prior month. The measure of orders waiting to be filled fell to 58 from 61. The index of prices paid rose to 75 from 67.

The inventory index increased to 55.3, expanding for the first time since April 2006, from 47.3. A figure below 50 means manufacturers are reducing stockpiles. The employment index decreased to 55.1 from 56.1.