U.S. manufacturing grew in November for the 16th consecutive month, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported Wednesday.

The purchasing managers index (PMI) stood at a level of 56.6 in November compared to 56.9 in October and 54.4 in September, the ISM said in its “Report on Business.” A reading above 50 signals that the manufacturing sector is growing.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted the November PMI to drop to 56.5.

"The manufacturing sector grew during November, with both new orders and production continuing to expand,” said ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee Chairman Norbert Ore in a statement. “Exports and imports continue to support expansion in the sector. Prices moderated slightly during the month, but comments from the respondents express concerns with regard to pricing pressures. The list of commodities in short supply increased, though short supply items are not yet posing significant problems. Manufacturing continues to benefit from the recovery in autos, but those industries reliant upon housing continue to struggle."

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 10 reported growth in November, led by computer and electronic products and petroleum and coal products. Six industries reported contraction, led by printing and related activities.

In other economic news on Wednesday, the U.S. Labor Department reported that nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 2.3% annual rate during the third quarter of 2010. Output increased 3.7 percent and hours worked increased 1.4 percent in the third quarter.

Labor productivity is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of the combined hours worked of all people involved, including employees, proprietors and unpaid family workers.

Nonfarm business productivity increased 2.5% from the third quarter of 2009 to the third quarter of 2010, as output increased 4.3% and hours worked rose 1.%.

Read about ISM’s October PMI at AdvisorOne.com.