A private measure of the manufacturing sector's health for January rose from a record low but still showed the 12th straight month of contraction in a global recession.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said its manufacturing index rose to 35.6 in January from an upwardly revised 32.9 in December. The January reading was above the 32.6 that economists had expected.
Any reading above 50 signals growth, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction. The index has fallen steadily since August as the economy has deteriorated, hitting a 28-year low in December.