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Manufacturing strong in June

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The U.S. manufacturing sector showed surprising strength during June, reversing a May decline and making gains in most key areas, notably new orders, employment, and lower prices for raw materials and supplies, the nation's purchasing managers reported in a monthly gauge of manufacturing activity.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said its index of manufacturing activity rose 2.4 percentage points to a current level of 53.8 percent. Any reading over 50 percent points to stepped up activity, while anything beneath that line indicates a contraction. While it's see-sawed up and down over the past 13 months, the index points to growing economic activity in the manufacturing sector for a 25th straight month.In a particularly good piece of news, the prices that manufacturers pay for raw materials and supplies is growing at far slower pace, the index declining markedly, 7.5percentage points, to a level of 50.5, down from 58 in May and 73 in March.

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