U.S. Manufacturing Roars Ahead in December

Figures released Tuesday signaled a strong end to the year for the U.S. manufacturing sector, with overall business conditions improving at the fastest pace since March 2015.

Adjusted for seasonal influences, the Markit U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index registered 54.3 in December, up slightly
from 54.1 in November, to signal the strongest improvement in business conditions for just under two years.

The latest rise in the headline index reading was largely driven by stronger rates of employment growth and inventory building in
December, which more than offset slightly weaker increases in output and new orders.

Robust rises in new orders and production volumes led to the sharpest pace of job creation for a year-and-a-half. Meanwhile, greater
client spending and upbeat business confidence resulted in the largest accumulation of pre-production inventories since August 2014.