US manufacturing shows uptick in April

WASHINGTON — U.S. manufacturing grew last month at the fastest pace in 10 months. New orders, production and a measure of hiring all rose.

The strength at U.S. factories suggests the economy is healthier than recent data had indicated. That’s a hopeful sign ahead of Friday’s report on hiring in April.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said today that its index of manufacturing activity reached 54.8 in April. That’s the highest level since June and up from 53.4 the previous month. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

The report exceeded analysts’ expectations. A measure of employment in the ISM’s survey rose to a 10-month high. This showed that factories are still hiring at a solid pace.

A gauge of new orders jumped to its highest level in a year. That could signal faster production in the coming months. Export orders also rose, which could offset worries that weaker economies in Europe and China could drag on U.S. exports.

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