Investing.com - The rate of growth in the economy's manufacturing sector unexpectedly accelerated in February, according to a report released on Thursday.
The Institute of Supply Management said its manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to 60.8 in February, from 59.1 the previous month.
Economists had forecast a decline to 58.7.
A reading above 50 for the index indicates expansion in the sector, and a reading below 50 signals contraction.
The new orders index fell to 64.2 in February from 65.4 a month earlier.
The employment index rose to 59.7 last month from the prior 54.2. Economists had predicted an increase to 57.0.
The prices paid index increased to 74.2 in February, from the previous reading of 72.7. Analysts had forecast the reading to drop to 70.5.
“Comments from the panel reflect expanding business conditions, with new orders and production maintaining high levels of expansion; employment expanding at a faster rate to support production; order backlogs expanding at a faster rate; and export orders and imports continuing to grow faster in February,” the ISM noted.
Additionally, the report indicated that supplier deliveries continued to slow (improving) at a faster rate.
However, the ISM pointed out that price increases occurred across most industry sectors, while the customers’ inventories index indicated levels remain “too low”.
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