American manufacturing facilities are expanding production for the first time in over a year and a half, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The ISM's manufacturing index broke 50 for the first time since January 2008, coming in at 52.9.
The ISM index is a key measure of US manufacturing. Any number below 50 means the economy is contracting, and any number over 50 means it's expanding.
This is a significant stepping stone of the path to recovery because it means that manufacturers have burned down as much of their inventory as they feel comfortable with and are launching new purchase orders. This, in turn, should lead to the creation of more jobs.