WASHINGTON – American factories grew last month at the fastest pace in more than two years.
The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index came in at 56.0 in January, up from 54.5 in December and highest since November 2014's 57.6. Anything above 50 signals growth. Manufacturing has now grown for five straight months and for 10 of the last 11 months.
Factories said new orders, production and hiring grew faster in January. Exports grew last month but at a slower pace than they did in December.
Factories have been expanding despite a strong U.S. dollar, which makes American products more expensive in overseas markets. They also have recovered from big cutbacks in the energy industry, which reflected low oil prices.