In many ways January can be kind of a crap month. The avalanche of hot-buttered-rum-fueled parties are behind us. The long, long, bleak and long winter lies ahead. What, really, is there to live for?
How about this: January marked the sixth-straight month that the manufacturing sector saw increased activity and a very important index monitoring this stuff is at a six-year high! Six is quickly becoming our favorite number.
The Institute for Supply Management's index hit 58.4 last month, after reaching 54.9 in December. Anything over 50 is good and obviously the higher the better.
The apparel and machinery areas led the new charge and were among the 13 out of 18 industries reporting growth. That compared with only nine sectors indicating expansion in December. And consumers were paying considerably higher prices for goods in January versus the end of 2009. At this rate, we may have to reconsider our feelings for January. Now, if only someone could do something about the length of winter.