Manufacturing expands at fastest pace since 2004

Manufacturing grew at the fastest clip in six years last month, providing an additional boost to the nation's economic recovery behind consumer spending and car sales.

The manufacturing sector grew for the ninth straight month as the Institute for Supply Management's factory index increased to 60.4 in April, the highest level since June 2004, according to a report released Monday. A level above 50 reflects expansion. 

The 12-month low was 43.2 in May 2009, with steady growth since then. The numbers topped 50 in August 2009 hitting 52.8 with gradual increases since then. The 12-month factory index average is 53.5, according to the repot. 

The sector showed solid gains in production, new orders and employment. The production index increased to 66.9, up 5.8 percentage points, for the 11th straight month. New orders hit 65.7, up 4.2 percentage points. reflecting a 10-month trend while employment was up to 58.5, an increase of 3.2 percentage points showing five straight months of growth. 

To read the report, click here.