US manufacturing sector expands for first time since 2022

The US manufacturing sector in March expanded for the first time in a year and a half as companies increased production and demand rebounded. 

The Institute for Supply Management said its index tracking factory activity rose to a reading of 50.3 last month from 47.8 in February, surpassing economists’ expectations for a reading of 48.4.

A figure above 50 indicates that the sector is expanding, and it was the first time the index has moved into expansion territory since September 2022, according to Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM manufacturing business survey committee.

“Demand remains at the early stages of recovery, with clear signs of improving conditions. Production execution surged compared to January and February,” Fiore said.

A sub-index tracking employment remained weak, though, as companies reduced headcount through job cuts even as demand rebounds.

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