Turkey’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector remained unchanged at 49.5 in December compared to the previous month, a joint business survey revealed on Thursday.

The Istanbul Chamber of Industry report, prepared in cooperation with London-based global data firm IHS Markit, said December reading was above the average for 2019 as a whole.

Production rose for the second consecutive month at the end of last year, it said, adding: “Although marginal, the expansion was stronger than that seen in November.”

The picture regarding new orders was broadly stable with a marginal slowdown last month, while new export orders continued to ease, but at the softest pace in five months.

Companies signaled that staffing levels were sufficient to deal with current workloads, backed up by a further reduction in outstanding business.

“A second consecutive moderation of employment suggested that manufacturers had sufficient workforce numbers to cope with current workloads,” it added.

Commenting on the data, Andrew Harker, IHS Markit’s associate director, stressed that the Turkish manufacturing sector remained on the road to recovery at the end of 2019.

“While still facing challenging business conditions and a soft international demand environment, manufacturers will be more confident looking ahead to 2020 than when they were ahead of the move into 2019 this time last year,” Harker added.

Read more: Turkey’s manufacturing PMI constant in December