PhotoThe manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy continued to chug along in February.

According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), the Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI), a key gauge of the sector's economic health, rose 1.7% to 57.7%. That marks the sixth straight month that the PMI has been above 50 -- the dividing line between expansion and contraction.

At the same time, the overall economy grew for the 93rd consecutive month.

A closer look at PMI components shows the New Orders Index jumped 4.7% for a reading of 65.1%, the Production Index registered 62.9%, up 1.5% from January, while the Employment Index fell 1.9% to 54.2%.

Inventories of raw materials came in at 51.5%, a gain of 3%, and the Prices Index dipped 1% to 68%, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 12th consecutive month.

Industry performance

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, the following 17 reported growth:

  1. Textile Mills;
  2. Apparel, Leather & Allied Products;
  3. Machinery;
  4. Computer & Electronic Products;
  5. Primary Metals;
  6. Plastics & Rubber Products;
  7. Nonmetallic Mineral Products;
  8. Chemical Products;
  9. Paper Products;
  10. Fabricated Metal Products;
  11. Transportation Equipment;
  12. Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products;
  13. Wood Products;
  14. Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components;
  15. Printing & Related Support Activities;
  16. Petroleum & Coal Products; and
  17. Miscellaneous Manufacturing.

Furniture & Related Products was the only industry to report contraction.

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