February 1, 2013 11:00 AM, EST
ISM Manufacturing Index Improves in January

U.S. manufacturing activity rose in January, the Institute for Supply Management said Friday.

ISM’s monthly factory index rose to a reading of 53.1 from 50.2 in December, the group said. Figures lower than 50 indicate contraction while figures over that show expansion.

The reading was higher than economists’ forecasts of a 50.7 reading, Bloomberg News reported.

Thirteen of 18 manufacturing industries reported gains, led by plastics and rubber products, textiles, furniture and printing activities, ISM said.

The group’s new orders index jumped 3.6 points to a 53.3 reading, while the production index rose a point to 53.6.