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U.S. Factories Head Into 2015 With Optimistic Eye

Wall Street Journal (01/02/15) Kathleen Madigan

The Institute for Supply Management reports a drop in its purchasing managers index to 55.5 in December from 58.7 in November. However, the index averaged 55.8 for all of 2014, the best reading since 2010. Moreover, the employment index rose to 56.8 in December from 54.9 in November.

“It is hard to believe that firms ramped up hiring if they were worried that conditions were weakening significantly,” says Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors. According to Bradley Holcomb, who oversees the ISM’s factory survey, a December survey by ISM indicates that respondents believe revenues will grow an average of 5.6% this year, leading to a 1.5% boost in employment and a 3.7% jump in capital spending.