The U.S. manufacturing sector expanded last month at the fastest pace in more than three years boosted by a jump in its new orders and employment readings, an industry report released on Friday showed.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity rose to 57.1 in July, the highest since April 2011, from 55.3 in June. The reading topped expectations of 56, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector.

The employment component jumped to 58.2 in July from 52.8 the previous month, hitting its highest since June 2011 and handily beating the expected 53 mark. New orders rose to 63.4 from 58.9.