The rate at which China’s manufacturing activity is growing rose to its highest point in nearly three years in November, driven by rising stocks of purchased items and stronger job creation, a Caixin-sponsored survey showed Monday.

The Caixin China General Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which gives an independent snapshot of the manufacturing sector’s operating conditions, rose further to 51.8 in November from 51.7 in the previous month. Though the rate was only marginally higher, it marks the strongest expansion since December 2016.

The Caixin PMI is one of the earliest available monthly indicators of economic conditions in China and is closely watched by investors. A number above 50 indicates expansion, while anything below 50 points to contraction. Manufacturing accounted for nearly 30% of China’s gross domestic product in the first nine months of this year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.