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Ahead of the Bell: US manufacturing

December 1, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Institute for Supply Management releases its November survey on U.S. manufacturing production, orders, hiring and other activity at 10 a.m. Eastern Thursday.

WINNING STREAK: Economists predict that factory activity expanded for a third straight month, rising to 52.2 from 51.9 in October. Anything above 50 signals growth. The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers.

BOUNCING BACK: From October 2015 through February this year, American manufacturing retreated in the face of economic weakness overseas and a strong dollar, which makes U.S. exports more expensive. But factories began to recover as the dollar tumbled during the first half of the year. The ISM manufacturing index signaled resumed growth in March and has topped 50 for seven of the last eight months.

In October, U.S. manufacturers told the ISM that production and exports orders grew faster, and a measure of factory employment rose after falling for three straight months.

The Commerce Department said last week that orders for big-ticket manufactured goods increased in October by the most in a year, pulled higher by a surge in demand for commercial aircraft.

HEALTHY BACKDROP: The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent from July through September, fastest in two years. The unemployment rate is 4.9 percent, close to what economists consider full employment. Employers have been adding 181,000 jobs a month so far this year, solid but down from 229,000 a month in 2015.

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