Growth in New Zealand's manufacturing sector slowed last month, but it still remained in solid expansion, according to the latest performance of manufacturing index (PMI) out Thursday. The BNZ-Business New Zealand PMI for April was 55.2, down 2.8 points from March, on a scale where above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 contraction. The April figure was similar to results of the last eight months and was maintained a run of expansion for 19 straight months. BNZ economist Doug Steel said in a statement that a relatively high number of public holidays had contributed to the April slowdown, but the trends were strong and especially so in employment. "Buoyant construction and agriculture sectors look supportive on the demand side," Steel said. Four of the five seasonally adjusted main sub-indices were in expansion in April, with production at 55.3, deliveries at 55.3, new orders at 55.2 and employment at 54.5, while finished stocks at 49.3 was the only index to show contraction.