Manufacturing firms signaled the sharpest improvement in operating conditions on record in January, as highlighted by the IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) posting 59.1, up from 57.1 in December. Alongside stronger expansions in output and new orders, the headline figure was driven up by another substantial deterioration in vendor performance. January data signaled a robust upturn in manufacturing production that was the steepest since August 2014, as new orders rose markedly. Stronger demand from new and existing customers was reportedly behind the expansion, with some clients reportedly committing to orders previously placed on hold. New export orders also rose at the quickest rate since September 2014.