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US manufacturing expanded more quickly in March

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WASHINGTON — U.S. manufacturing grew at a slightly faster pace in March compared with February as factory output recovered from disruptions caused by severe winter weather. Manufacturers also received more orders, suggesting that production could strengthen a bit in the months ahead.

The Institute for Supply Management, a group of purchasing managers, said Tuesday that its manufacturing index increased to 53.7 from 53.2 in February. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The increase suggests that manufacturing is growing at a steady but modest pace after cold winter weather caused a sharp slowdown in the first two months of the year.

Even so, factories are hiring at the slowest pace in nine months, the survey found. The government will release its official jobs report for March on Friday.

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