WASHINGTON — American manufacturers say they expanded in February at the fastest pace in nearly 14 years.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reports that its manufacturing index climbed to 60.8 in February from 59.1 in January. This was the strongest reading since May 2014. Any score above 50 signals growth.
The gains largely came from a surge in the employment and inventory components of the index. New orders and production expanded in February but at a slower rate than in January.
Among 18 manufacturing industries, 15 reported growth last month, including electronic products and transportation equipment.
U.S. manufacturing has expanded for the past 18 months. Solid economic growth around the world and a weaker dollar — which helps exports — have fueled the gains.