Factory sector still hurting, but pace of decline slows

Call it one positive and one negative on the latest data points for the U.S. economy.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index revealed a slowing contraction in the nation's factory sector in April, while the U.S. Commerce Department announced that factory orders declined 0.9 percent in March.

The ISM manufacturing index rose to 40.1 percent in April from 36.3 in March -- a level that still indicates a contraction -- but the reading is the index's highest since September, and it was well above the 38.3 Bloomberg News survey of economists estimate.


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