Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in January for the 20th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 68th consecutive month, according to the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business issued Feb. 2 by the Institute for Supply Management.

The report is based on data compiled from purchasing and supply executives nationwide, including new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, inventories, prices, backlog of orders, exports and imports.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. manufacturers expanded in January at the slowest pace in a year as orders and hiring weakened.

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The ISM’s PMI (purchasing manager’s index) registered 53.5 percent, a decrease of 1.6 percentage points from December’s seasonally adjusted reading of 55.1 percent.

The New Orders Index registered 52.9 percent, a decrease of 4.9 percentage points from the seasonally adjusted reading of 57.8 percent in December.

The Production Index registered 56.5 percent, 1.2 percentage points below the seasonally adjusted December reading of 57.7 percent.

The Employment Index registered 54.1 percent, a decrease of 1.9 percentage points below the seasonally adjusted December reading of 56 percent.

Inventories of raw materials registered 51 percent, an increase of 5.5 percentage points above the December reading of 45.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 35 percent, down 3.5 percentage points from the December reading of 38.5 percent, indicating lower raw materials prices in January relative to December. Comments from the panel indicate that most industries, but not all, are experiencing strong demand as 2015 kicks off. The West Coast dock slowdown continues to be a problem, negatively impacting both exports and imports, as well as inventories."

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 14 are reporting growth in January in the following order: Primary Metals; Wood Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Fabricated Metal Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Petroleum & Coal Products; Paper Products; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; Machinery; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Computer & Electronic Products; and Furniture & Related Products.

The two industries reporting contraction in January are: Textile Mills; and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.

The next Manufacturing ISM Report On Business featuring the February 2015 data will be released March 2, 2015.