US manufacturing activity jumps to 3-year high in February

WASHINGTON — U.S. manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace three years with the arrival of a surge in new orders.

The Institute for Supply Management reported today that its gauge of manufacturing activity rose to a reading of 60.8% last month, 2.1 percentage-points above the January level of 58.7%.

It was the strongest performance since February 2018. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector.

The survey found optimism increasing with five positive comments for every cautious comment, up from a 3-to-1 ratio in the January survey.