U.S. manufacturing expanded in December at the fastest pace in three months, as gains in orders and production capped the strongest year for factories since 2004, the Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday.
The survey-based measure of factory activity -- the year's second-highest behind September, when storm-related supply delays boosted the index -- brings the 2017 average to 57.6, the best in 13 years. The latest gain extends a string of strong readings that's been fueled by more domestic business investment, improving global economies and steady spending by American households.
The acceleration in bookings indicates production will remain robust in coming months as factories race to limit mounting order backlogs amid declining customer inventories. Increasing export orders underscore improvement in global markets.
The figures suggest manufacturing strength will persist into early 2018, even after the ISM's semi-annual survey of purchasing managers published last month showed factories anticipate growth in capital spending to slow this year.
Updates with Bloomberg Economics comment, industry breakdown under Other Details.
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