The overall economy grew for the ninetieth straight time, while the manufacturing sector expanded for the third consecutive month, the Institute for Supply Management reported Thursday.

According to the ISM's monthly report on business, the ISM index increased to 53.2 in November from 51.9 in October.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted the index would be 52.2.

An index reading below 50 signals a slowing economy, while a level above 50 suggests expansion. A reading of 50 shows the sector was unchanged in the month.

The prices paid index held at 54.5. The employment index slid to 52.3 from 52.9.

The production index climbed to 56.0 from 54.6, the new orders index rose to 53.0 from 52.1; the supplier deliveries index gained to 55.7 from 52.2; the export orders index decreased to 52.0 from 52.5; and the imports index fell to 50.5 from 52.0.

The inventories index grew to 49.0 from 47.5; the customers' inventories index dipped to 49.0 from 49.5; and backlog of orders increased to 49.0 from 45.5.

Respondents' comments included:

  • "Raw materials have been rather flat. Ramping up for year-end and reducing inventory is main supply chain goal at this time." (Chemical Products)
  • "Strong manufacturing numbers in anticipation of strong year-end bookings." (Computer & Electronic Products)
  • "Business is still steady. We are foregoing our shutdown over Christmas break due to an increase in customer orders." (Plastics & Rubber Products)
  • "Heading into 2017, our business levels look pretty consistent compared to 2016." (Primary Metals)
  • "Sector remains strong, orders and forecasts are consistent and demand outlook is positive." (Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products)
  • "New spec buildings going up in our area. Local companies adding additional production space which equates to higher employment." (Machinery)
  • "Business conditions are good. Labor market is tightening such that it is difficult to staff to completely fulfill production demand." (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)
  • "We are seeing an upswing in customer Requests for Quotations this month; this is a positive sign for our business." (Textile Mills)
  • "Continued strong seasonal demand for product." (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)
  • "2017 is looking to be a very busy year." (Fabricated Metal Products)

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