Economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector grew in April for the third straight month -- but at a slightly slower rate than in March. In the latest Manufacturing NAPM (National Assn. of Purchasing Management) Report on Business, NAPM's Purchasing Managers' Index for April was 52.8%, slightly lower than March's 54.3% but still signifying growth. A PMI above 50% shows manufacturing is "generally expanding," says NAPM; below 50% means "generally contracting." The manufacturing sector showed "a much broader base of growth this month as 16 of 20 manufacturing industries were above the break-even line (an index greater than 50)," says Norbert Ore, chair of the NAPM's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. The PMI is a composite of five indexes: new orders, which declined 3.4 percentage points to 54.8% in April; production, down 2 percentage points to 57.6%; supplier deliveries, down 3.1 percentage points to 49.4% showing slightly faster deliveries; inventories liquidating slower, up 2 percentage points to 46.6%; and employment, up 1.5 percentage points to 49.5%.