Manufacturing expands in February

The Markit Flash U.S. Purchasing Mangers' Index (PMI) rose in February, according to a new report released by Markit. The PMI increased from January's reading of 53.7 to stand at 56.7. Experts are hopeful this is good news for the economy as a reading over 50 indicates growth. Economist Ken Goldstein said in a statement the country's current expansion is excellent, but it could improve a bit.

"The increase…reflects an economy that is expanding moderately, although the pace is somewhat held back by persistent and severe inclement weather in most parts of the country," Goldstein said. "If the economy is going to move on to a faster track in 2014 compared to last year, consumer demand and especially investment will need to pick up significantly from their current trends."

PMI better than predictions
The reading is better than what many experts were hoping for after a lackluster winter. According to a survey conducted by Bloomberg, the median reading for the PMI was predicted to be 53.6, with experts choosing figures ranging from 52.5 to 55. Nicolas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group, said in an interview with Reuters this is good news for the economy.

"The manufacturing data is extremely positive, especially coming after a spate of bad news at a time when the Fed seems committed to slowing stimulus," Colas said.

Increases across the industry
Several sectors among the industry saw expansion during the past month. Output, new orders and new export orders all reported growth during February. Production requirements and a push to stop delays were main contributors as to why output increased during this time period.

Employment also showed an increase from it's January reading of 53.2 to 54 for February. The PMI said that greater production requirements and confidence in economic growth for the future were a key reason why businesses continued to hire workers. Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said in the report job creation is the highest since March 2013.

"Having slumped to a three-month low in January the PMI surged to its highest for almost four years in February, as companies reported business returning to normal after freezing temperatures and snow disrupted operations and supply chains," Williamson said. "Hiring also picked up to the fastest since last March, with the survey signaling approximately 15,000 jobs being created in February." 

Manufacturers who are looking to hire experienced workers to help them meet demands of the industry can look to operations recruiters to aid them in their search.

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