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Washington (AFP) — U.S. manufacturing activity gained pace in March helped by a pickup in new orders and a rebound in production, the Institute for Supply Management said Monday.

The ISM’s purchasing managers index rose to 53.7 from 53.2 the previous month. A reading above 50 denotes expansion.

The new orders component rose to 55.1 and production turned around from contraction in February — that was partly the result of extreme harsh winter weather — to a solid expansion pace of 55.9.

But hiring slowed and customer inventories contracted during the month.

Comments from businesses surveyed “reflect favorable demand and good business conditions,” ISM said, with some respondents still noting impact from the unusually harsh winter weather across much of the country.

“Weather has created major delays on inbound materials and outbound sales. We need spring,” said one survey respondent from the food and beverage industry.

©afp.com / Odd Andersen

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

Screenshot from Aug. 25, 2020 edition of Daily Kos / Youtube

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

A federal district judge in New York ruled Monday that the U.S. Postal Service has to treat election mail as a priority, another loss for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in the courts. The judge, Victor Marrero, also ordered that overtime and extra deliveries had to be permitted by the USPS as election mail demands. This came in a suit brought by several candidates for office and New York voters against Donald Trump and DeJoy.

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