NEW YORK Jan 24 U.S. manufacturing got off to a
strong start in 2013 as rising domestic demand helped the sector
grow this month at its fastest clip in nearly two years.
Financial information firm Markit said its U.S. "flash," or
preliminary, manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to
56.1 in January, its best showing since March 2011. It stood at
54.0 last month. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Output grew at its fastest pace since March 2012, with the
subindex rising to 57.2 from 54.5 in December.
Firms tied the growth surge to higher demand from U.S.
customers, reflected in the index's new orders component, which
rose to 57.7, the highest level since May of 2010.
Improved economic conditions in China and some parts of
Europe also helped boost orders from abroad, the survey showed.
"However, it is the domestic market that is clearly
providing the main impetus to the upturn," said Markit chief
economist Chris Williamson.
Aggressive monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve and a
last-minute deal by Congress to avoid a year-end budget crisis
and a large rise in taxes gave a boost to business confidence,
Hiring also increased in January, with new jobs being
created at the fastest pace in nine months, while average
selling prices increased for a fifth consecutive month.