Extract: Government data indicates that manufacturing is expanding, and that companies in the industry are hiring.
Government data indicates that the manufacturing industry expanded in February, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). This information comes amid announcements of firms in the industry that will be staffing new positions.
The ISM report indicates that the February purchasing managers index (PMI) had a reading of 52.4 percent, which was 1.7 percent lower than the January reading of 54.1 percent. The February figure was below the figure of 54.5 percent predicted by market experts, according to Reuters.
Even though the PMI dropped in February from the previous month, it was above 50, which signifies expansion in the industry. Inflation in raw materials for the second month in a row caused the Prices Index to register a reading of 61.5 percent. The reading for new orders was 54.9 percent, which was below the previous month's figure of 57.6 percent.
ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee chairman Bradley J. Holcomb said in the statement that "as was the case in January, new orders, production and employment all grew in February - although at somewhat slower rates than in January."
He added that that the information gathered from participants continues "to reflect a generally positive outlook for the next few months."
Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at commonwealth foreign exchange in Washington D.C., responded to the ISM report by saying that "this was certainly softer than expected. Prices paid were up sharply, a reflection of higher energy and commodities," according to Reuters.
He added that "I suspect risk appetite will moderate a little bit from here and we are already seeing the dollar perk up a bit as a result."
Car maker Toyota announced on March 1 that it plans to boost the productive capacity of its Buffalo, West Virginia plant within the next 18 months, according to The Herald-Dispatch. Expanding this facility will entail staffing 80 jobs. The company plans to invest $45 million into the plant expansion, and this upgrade will start in November 2012. Toyota plans to hire the 80 individuals by July 2013. The plant upgrade will boost annual production of transmissions to 520,000 from 400,000.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia general manager Mike Lutz told The Charleston Gazette that the expansion will raise the company's total investment in Buffalo to $1.3 billion and increase the employment there to 1,200 workers.
Lutz told television station WSAV that the plant expansion "speaks to them recognizing just how talented our company is, how talented our team members are and this is a good place to expand."
He added that "they see it, they understand it but we'll have to keep demonstrating that."
U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller said in a statement that the plant expansion is great news for the carmaker, its employees and West Virginia.
"Now employing almost 1,200 workers from over twenty counties around the state, Toyota has continued to show its commitment to growth," he said.
He added that he was "proud to have helped bring the company here more than 15 years ago, but really we should all thank the workers at Toyota," since the growth in the company would not be possible without their diligent efforts.
Senator Rockefeller's office stated that more than more than 20 Japanese businesses have invested into West Virginia since Toyota first put money into operations in the state 15 years ago, according to The Herald-Dispatch. This has resulted in the Japan-based firms staffing jobs with American workers.