U.S. manufacturing contraction slowest since August

Trade group’s measure of US manufacturing activity dips less than expected; best since August
NEW YORK (AP) — A private-sector index measuring the health of U.S. manufacturing declined last month at the slowest pace since August, as companies boost production to restock bare shelves.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, says its manufacturing index read 48.9, up from 44.8 in June. That’s better than the 46.2 reading analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected.

July was the 18th consecutive month of deterioration in manufacturing — a reading below 50 indicates contraction. But the pace of decline has been slowing since the index hit a 28-year low of 32.9 in December.

The moderating decline in U.S. manufacturing mirrors improvements in the industrial sectors in China, Britain and Europe.

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