By James Glynn

SYDNEY--Australian manufacturing ended 2016 solidly, with strength in new sales and exports.

However, there was evidence of growing weakness in employment.

The Australian Industry Group's performance of manufacturing index rose 1.2 points in December from November to 55.4 points, indicating activity expanded over the month.

Ai Group Chief Executive Inness Willox said that despite a small fall in sector-wide employment in December, manufacturing production, sales, exports and new orders all grew strongly in the month, "providing a running start to the new year."

Food and beverage production, and machinery production were among the strong areas of manufacturing in the month.

The new orders index grew 1.1 points to 60.6 points and the index rose 5.3 points to 58.8 points.

Still, the employment index fell 4.9 points to 47.4, which was in line with recent weakness in official employment data, the report said.

-Write to James Glynn at james glynn@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 02, 2017 17:45 ET (22:45 GMT)

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