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Washington (AFP) — Activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector picked up pace in August, to its best level since August 2011, the Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday.

Helped by a pickup in production and new orders, the ISM’s manufacturing purchasing managers index rose by 1.9 points to 59.0. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The component for production rose to 64.5 from 61.2, and that for new orders, to 66.7 from 63.4.

Hiring levels continued to rise at about the same pace as July, while inventories, which had been shrinking, began to grow again.

Of 18 manufacturing industries covered in the ISM survey, only one, textile mills, contracted in the month.

Most industries reported rising orders, mainly on domestic U.S. demand. But some cited challenges from geopolitical and economic problems overseas.

A poll respondent from the transportation industry complained: “Overall business conditions are flat. World issues taking a toll on business. Consumers are cutting back on spending,” the ISM said.

AFP Photo/Bill Pugliano

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Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

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