According to the Institute for Supply Management as reported on Apri 3, U.S. factory activity grew at a slower pace in March. The ISM index fell to 55.2% in March from 56.7% in February.
The decline was a surprise to analysts, who on average had been expecting a rise to 57.7%.
Readings above 50 indicate expansion, so the report shows a strong if cooler pace of growth in the industrial economy.
Among component indexes, new orders fell to 58.4% in March from 61.9% in February.
The employment index fell to 52.5% from 55.0%.
The price index rose to 66.5% from 62.5%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006