Manufacturing shows stronger growth after two corrections

As it turns out, the manufacturing sector expanded at a faster pace last month than reported earlier Monday.

The Institute for Supply Management made two corrections to its manufacturing data for its May index to show that factories grew at a stronger clip last month.

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The ISM's manufacturing index for May increased to 55.4 up from 53.2 in the initial report and the 54.9 posted in April, which had been the lowest level since February.

The index has remained above 50, which reflects growth, for a year.

ISM discovered an error in its software programming used for calculating the report.  

Production and new orders showed stronger improvement, too, in the corrected figures.

The new orders index increased to 56.9 up from 55.1 in April, while production hit 61, a gain of 5.3 percentage points above the April reading of 55.7 percent.

Employment grew for the 11th consecutive month, registering 52.8 percent below April’s reading of 54.7 percent. 

Manufacturing activity has steadily risen in each month since January’s weather-related softness, said Chad Moutray, chief economist of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Still, he said the figures suggested that "we still do not have the robust growth that we might prefer."

"While manufacturing activity remains a mostly positive one, with manufacturers cautiously optimistic in their outlook," Moutray said.

"Yet, no one can dispute that economic growth has started the year off slower than we would like."

This story was updated at 1:20 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.