Economic Report: ISM manufacturing index drops from recent peak but remains strong in January

An employee on the assembly line at the Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc.

The numbers: The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index in January slipped to 59.1% from 59.3% in December. That is still above the 57.4% average reading for 2017, and the 50% level that marks expansion. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected a reading of 58.6%. Separately, IHS Markit said its manufacturing PMI remained steady at a final reading of 55.5 in January from the flash estimate. This was up from 55.1 in December.

What happened: Beneath the headlines, the details reveal a cooling off from ultra-high levels but still healthy expansion.

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