US factories grew at faster pace in January

US factories grew at faster pace in January
FILE- In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo Mari Keels adds u-nuts to a front end of a General Motors Chevrolet Cruze at Jamestown Industries in Youngstown, Ohio. On Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, issues its index of manufacturing activity for January. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — American factories grew at a slightly faster pace in January than in the previous month when there had been a big slowdown in manufacturing activity.

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Friday that its manufacturing index rose to 56.6 last month, up from a reading 54.3 in December. Anything above 50 signals growth in manufacturing.

The January gain of 2.3 percentage points followed a December plunge of 4.5 percentage points which had been the biggest drop in a decade. The January rebound was driven by strong gains in new orders and production.

Analysts at Oxford Economics called the rebound an encouraging sign of continued momentum in manufacturing.