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Manufacturing index at highest level since 2004


U.S. manufacturing accelerated in January at the fastest pace in more than six years, according to Bloomberg.

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) factory index rose to 60.8, its highest level since May 2004. Readings greater than 50 signal growth.

The ISM’s employment gauge of 61.7 was the highest it’s been since 1973, indicating manufacturers will be more willing to hire as sales pick up.

“Businesses have figured out the economic recovery has legs, so they’re growing more confident about expanding production and new orders and increasing hiring,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, N.C., in an interview with Bloomberg.

In Greater Des Moines, manufacturers expressed optimism heading into 2011 in a Business Record story last month. Maurice Taylor, CEO of Illinois-based Titan International Inc., which operates Titan Tire Co. in Des Moines, said he believed 2011 would be one of the company’s best years ever.

Other Iowans also expressed confidence in double-digit growth after seeing a recovery in 2010.

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