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Survey: US factories grow in August for third straight month

WASHINGTON — American factories expanded at a faster pace last month, continuing a rebound from the coronavirus recession.

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported Tuesday that its manufacturing index climbed to 56 in August from 54.2 in July. Anything above 50 signals growth, and U.S. manufacturing has been growing for three straight months.

As the pandemic and the measures meant to contain it paralyzed the American economy, the survey showed that manufacturing contracted in March, April and May before resuming growth in June.

The ISM reported that orders, production and export orders all grew faster in August. But the survey’s measurement of hiring shrank for the 13th straight month. Fifteen of 18 industries reported growth in August, led by wood and plastics makers.

The virus hit the overall economy hard in the spring. Gross domestic product — broadest measure of economic output — plummeted at a 31.7% annual pace from April through June, by far the worst three months in records dating back to 1947.

Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press

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