Norway Manufacturing Expands in December Amid Job Gains

Norwegian manufacturing grew for a second straight month in December as companies added jobs at the fastest pace since July.

A seasonally adjusted index based on responses from purchasing managers was at 50, compared with a revised 50.2 in November, Danske Bank A/S said today. The median estimate of eight economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for an index of 50. A reading above 50 signals an expansion.

PMI sub-index measuring orders rose to 49.9 from 49.0 in November. The employment index rose to 54.3 from 52.2 and the production measure was unchanged at 49.3. The inventory index slid to 44.9 from 49.1.

Norway’s central bank held its benchmark rate unchanged at 1.5 percent last month and stuck to a plan to raise rates in March at the earliest as an oil sector boom boosts economic growth and employment in western Europe’s largest crude producer.