Channel NewsAsia

US manufacturing activity picks up in April

US manufacturing activity rose for the 11th straight month in April, lifted in part by a strong gain in employment, the Institute for Supply Management said on Thursday.

WASHINGTON: US manufacturing activity rose for the 11th straight month in April, lifted in part by a strong gain in employment, the Institute for Supply Management said on Thursday.

The ISM's purchasing managers index climbed to 54.9 from 53.7 in March. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing.

The April PMI number came in better than analysts' consensus estimate of 54.5.

It was the third consecutive month of accelerating growth after the index stood at 51.3 in January.

"The pattern is consistent with growth re-accelerating after temporary weakness," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics.

Employment scored the strongest increase, jumping 3.6 points to 54.7 in April.

Seventeen of the 18 industries surveyed reported growth, led by apparel and leather goods, primary metals, and furniture goods. The only industry reporting contraction was non-metallic mineral products.

Bradley Holcomb, chair of the ISM's manufacturing survey committee, said that comments generally remained positive, but some respondents "expressed concern about international economic and political issues potentially impacting demand."

A representative of the chemical products industry said that export demand was picking up but not enough to raise prices. "Margins are very thin, and (we are) concerned about Chinese slowdown effect on our business."

"Russia may stop importing medical devices manufactured completely outside of Russia. (That) would have big negative impact -- 5 to 10 percent lost revenue," said a respondent from the miscellaneous manufacturing industry.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna