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Economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector picked up in January from December, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Its key purchasing managers' index for manufacturing rose to 50.7 in January from 48.4 in December. It was the highest reading since August. Readings of more than 50 indicate the economy is expanding.
The employment portion of the index, however, slowed and fell to 47.1 in January from 48.7 in December.
"The manufacturing sector gained momentum in January as the PMI (purchasing managers' index) rose 2.3 percentage points, signaling a stronger performance in January when compared to the seasonally adjusted 48.4 recorded in December," said Norbert Ore, chair of the institute's manufacturing business survey committee. "This represents a return to the recent trend of slow growth in manufacturing, as the PMI has averaged 50.2 for the past six months."