The manufacturing activity in the United States rebounded more than expected in December, although it remained in contraction territory, according to the monthly survey by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) published on Wednesday.
The ISM Manufacturing Index came in at 47.4, compared to 46.7 in October and September. Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected an average of 47.1 in December.
This marks the 14th consecutive month that the PMI index has remained below the 50 mark, indicating contraction rather than growth in activity. It is the longest period of this kind since August 2000 to January 2002.
The sub-index of new orders dropped to 47.1 in December from 48.3 the previous month, while the index of prices paid by manufacturers declined to 45.2 from 49.9 in the previous month and a consensus of 47.5, in a context of weak demand.
Employment in factories, on the other hand, increased to 48.1 in December from 45.8 in November, surpassing the consensus of 46.1.
Factory production rebounded, with the sub-index standing at 50.3 compared to 48.5 in November. Production could further improve, as customer stocks fell below the 50 mark.