Purchasing activity in Canada increased in January, according to the Ivey Purchasing Managers Index, released today.

The index was at 56.2 at the end of January, compared with 53.8 for the same month last year and 54.1 in 2006.

A reading above 50 shows an increase in activity, while a figure below 50 shows a decrease.

The employment index for January stood at 52.8, inventories were 50.7, supplier deliveries were 45.2 and prices were 67.1, according to today’s release.

The Ivey PMI is not adjusted for seasonality or inflation. According to Jacqui Douglas, economics strategist at TD Securities, seasonal factors typically add about 1.4 points for the month and so this month’s increase is still significant.

“The most notable detail was the big increase in the employment sub-index to 52.8 in January from 48.0 in December,” said Douglas, in a note. “Since seasonal factors typically subtract about 3 points from the employment index in January, that makes this month’s gain all the more impressive.”

The index is jointly sponsored by the Purchasing Management Association of Canada and the Richard Ivey School of Business. It is roughly akin to the U.S. Institute of Supply Management index, which released its numbers yesterday.