Manufacturing sector expands at faster pace in March

The manufacturing sector’s expansion picked up pace in March as the effects of severe winter weather faded.

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index improved to 53.7 from 53.2 in February, according to the report released Tuesday.

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Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

Production got back into expansion mode after hitting a five-year low in January, posting a 55.9, a substantial increase of 7.7 percentage points compared with February’s reading of 48.2.

Overall, manufacturing sector activity expanded in March for the 10th straight month.

New orders rose to 55.1, up from February’s reading of 54.5 percent.

Hiring grew for the ninth consecutive month, but at a slower rate registering 51.1 compared with February’s 52.3.

Several comments from the panel reflect favorable demand and good business conditions, with some lingering concerns about the prolonged adverse weather that has hit the country.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 14 are reporting growth in March.