The WSJ reports:
The U.S. manufacturing sector finished 2009 on a high note, helped by improving production and ordering activity, according to data released Monday by the Institute for Supply Management.
Separately, U.S. construction spending tumbled in November more than expected, pulled lower by the housing and commercial sectors as the recovering economy deals with high unemployment.
The ISM's manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to 55.9 last month, from 53.6 in November. December's reading was above the 54.0 forecasted by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires. Readings above 50 indicate expanding activity.
"The manufacturing sector grew for the fifth consecutive month in December as the PMI rose to 55.9, its highest reading since April 2006 when it registered 56," said Norbert Ore, who directs the survey for the ISM.