The U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in October for the second consecutive month, a good sign for the economic recovery,a leading industry survey showed on Thursday.
The U.S. Institute of Supply Management (ISM) said the manufacturing index, also known as the purchasing managers index ( PMI), rose to 51.7 percent in October, up from the estimate of 51. 5 percent in September, indicating growth at a slightly faster pace.
It also marked the second straight monthly growth after three months of slight contraction, noted the ISM. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing sector is generally expanding, while a reading below 50 percent indicates contraction.
New orders and production indexes rose for the month, while employment index declined but remained above the 50 percent growth threshold.
Manufacturing has been a bright spot in output and employment since the recession ended in June 2009. But the sector has shown signs of weakening in recent months.
Of the 18 manufacturing industries, eight reported growth last month, including petroleum and coal products, apparel and food. Eight industries reported contraction, including primary metals, wood products and machinery, said the ISM.
The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2 percent in the July-September quarter, up from a 1.3 percent rate in the second quarter.