The seasonally adjusted Milwaukee Report on Business climbed to 56.5 in January from 51.3 in January, the Institute for Supply Management-Milwaukee reported Thursday.

New orders received grew to 58.8 from 56.7, production gained to 56.7 from 52.4, employment decreased to 53.0 from 55.1, supplier deliveries rose to 56.2 from 49.3, and backlog of orders decreased to 44.0 from 50.0.

Inventory levels jumped to 57.7 from 43.1, customers' inventories gained to 47.8 from 47.7, prices rose to 67.3 from 60.3, exports increased to 58.8 from 52.5 and imports slid to 50.0 from 59.5.

The blue collar diffusion index increased to 51.1 from 47.8, while the white collar diffusion index dropped to 54.8 from 60.6.

Respondents' comments included:

--Some cost push recently seen on oil based commodities. However, there are no supply problems at this time. Overall, our sales have been flat, at best.

--2012 was a record year for shipments. 2013 is forecasted to be 5% better.

--Business continues to be strong. The biggest challenges are capacity issues and new equipment purchases. There are raising costs in Asia, bringing back work to the U.S.

--Price increases on plastics seem to be on the rise. More manufacturers are announcing increases, some examples are; Acrylics, Polycarbonates, ABS, and HDPE.

--Year end always busy - then a slow down.

--Planned inventory build - increased safety stock.

--East Coast Port issues.

--Finding freight fuel surcharges going up.

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