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Local manufacturers say business was strong in January

Buffalo Niagara manufacturers got off to a good start in 2018.

A new report, based on a survey of local purchasing managers, indicated that business at the region’s factories grew faster in January, fueled by an uptick in production, new orders and hiring.

“The numbers look better than in the last two months with production and new orders rebounding and strong employment growth," said Randall Cragun, the Niagara University economist who compiles the monthly report on local manufacturing activity for the Institute of Supply Management – Buffalo.

The group’s business activity index rose to a three-month high of 70 during January, up from the 14-month low of 55.9 in December. The index, which can swing wildly from month to month, had reached a 20-year high in October, only to see the pace of growth slow during each of the following two months before rebounding in January.

An index above 50 indicates growth at local factories, while a reading below that is a sign of weakness. The local index has been above 50, indicating factory growth, for 17 straight months.

Much of the improvement was due a sharp rebound in production and new orders, which had both shrunk in December. Hiring remained strong, rising for the 16th straight month, while commodity prices rose at a faster pace during January. Inventories grew for the 10th straight month.

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