TEMPE, AZ-The Institute for Supply Management reported that the manufacturing index rose to 35.6 in January, up from 32.9 in December. A reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

“While this is a significant month-over-month improvement, it is still a sign of continuing weakness in the sector,” says Norbert J. Ore, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “Comments from our respondents indicate that it will take a recovery in automobiles and housing for the manufacturing sector to once again prosper. On a positive note, the prices index continues to indicate significant deflation in the prices that manufacturers have to pay for their inputs, and this should ultimately be good for the consumer.”