U.S. manufacturing expanded in March for the 32nd consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management.
The ISM’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose last month to 53.4 from 52.4 in February. A reading above 50 indicates expanding activity.
Manufacturing has been a strong point in an uneven U.S. economic recovery.
European manufacturing, however, is feeling the impact of the continent’s recession. Markit Economics said its purchasing managers’ index for the eurozone dropped to 47.7 in March from 49.0 in February, the eighth consecutive sub-50 reading.
Major sub-indices of the ISM report indicated expansion, although in some cases at a slower pace. The new orders index was at 54.5 in March, after a 54.9 reading in February. The exports index was 54.0, down from 59.5 in February.
The ISM production index rose to 58.3 from 55.3, the factory employment index rose to 56.1 from 53.2, and the inventory index edged up to 50.0 from 49.5.