Economic activity in the US manufacturing sector continued to expand in April at the same pace as in the previous month, an industry survey showed on Friday.
The manufacturing index, also known as the purchasing managers index (PMI), registered 51.5 percent in April, unchanged from the prior month but below market expectations of 52 percent, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said in a report.
A reading above 50 percent indicates the sector is generally expanding, while a reading below the ratio indicates contraction.
The ISM's new-orders index rose by 1.7 percentage points to 53. 5 percent in April and the production index increased by 2.2 percentage points to 56 percent, but the employment index fell by 1.7 percentage points to 48.3 percent, the lowest level since September 2009.
Some manufactures said it "remains difficult to find qualified individuals" and international shipments have been "delayed by the strikes at ports on the west coast", according to the survey.
Fifteen of the 18 manufacturing industries tracked by the ISM reported growth in April, up from just 10 in the previous month. The industries reporting contraction included apparel, computer and electronic products.