The strength of U.S. manufacturing appears to have been largely unshaken despite the recent surge in coronavirus infections.
The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday its manufacturing index rose to a reading of 60.7 in December from 57.5 in the prior month, marking the highest level since 2018.
Economists had expected a small decline in the index, which is based on surveys of manufacturing sector senior executives.
“The manufacturing economy continued its recovery in December,” said ISM’s Timothy R. Fiore. “Survey Committee members reported that their companies and suppliers continue to operate in reconfigured factories, but absenteeism, short-term shutdowns to sanitize facilities and difficulties in returning and hiring workers are causing strains that are limiting manufacturing growth potential.”
New orders matched their pandemic high at a reading of 67.9, up from 65.1, signaling that the sector has been more resilient in the face of the pandemic’s winter surge than many