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Manufacturing companies grow faster in June

NEW YORK — A private trade group says that U.S. manufacturing activity recovered somewhat in June from a sharp slowdown in May.

The factory sector has been the primary driver of the recovery, growing now for 23 straight months.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, says that its index of manufacturing activity rose to 55.3 in June from 53.5 in May, the slowest growth in 20 months.

A reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing sector is expanding.

In June, new orders for goods and employment picked up again.

Growth had slowed sharply in May. High gas prices cut into consumer spending and an auto parts shortage stemming from Japan’s March 11 earthquake.