ISM: Factory Growth Picks Up Speed

U.S. manufacturers ratcheted up the pace of output in November as new orders jumped and factories took on more workers, a report said on Wednesday.

The Institute for Supply Management (search) said its index of national manufacturing activity (search) climbed to 57.8 from 56.8 in October, surpassing forecasts for a smaller gain to 57.0.

"It's a good report for the economy," said Cary Leahey, senior U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities.

A reading above 50 indicates growth in the factory sector, which represents about one sixth of the $10.9 trillion U.S. economy. November marked 18 months of expansion in manufacturing.

The survey's employment measure grew to 57.6 from 54.8, raising hopes that Friday's U.S. employment report for November could show another burst of job creation.

"Employment is the big number because it's up three points. It supports the case for a 200,000 gain in November payrolls," Leahey said.

U.S. stocks were higher while Treasury debt prices edged lower after the report.

Overall, the data confirmed what most analysts already believed -- the economy is growing robustly enough to allow the Federal Reserve (search) to keep raising interest rates, but is unlikely to experience a renewed spurt of expansion any time soon.

On Tuesday, the government said U.S. third quarter gross domestic product grew at a 3.9 percent pace, up from an earlier estimate of 3.7 percent, much of it fueled by relentless consumer spending.

ISM's prices paid gauge dipped to 74.0 from 78.5, while new orders expanded to 61.5 from 58.3.

The ISM index is compiled from monthly responses of purchasing executives at more than 400 industrial companies such as textiles, chemicals and paper.