Manufacturing keeps quick pace

The U.S. manufacturing sector had its fifth consecutive monthly increase during June -- the fastest pace since February 2000. The Institute for Supply Management reported yesterday its monthly manufacturing index rose from 55.7 in May to 56.2. According to the group, a reading above 50 indicates expansion while one below 50 indicates contraction. Production rose strongly to 61.4 after averaging 58.1 over the previous three months. Employment increased to 49.7 from a 47.1 average during the same period. In a separate report from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, the value of construction spending fell 0.7% in May after hitting a record level the month before. Private nonresidential construction dropped 3.1%, while private residential building fell 0.8%.

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