The pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector unexpectedly picked up in April, while new orders gained, according to an industry report released on Tuesday.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity rose to 54.8 from 53.4 in March, besting expectations of 53.0.

A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the manufacturing sector, while a number above 50 means expansion.

New orders climbed to 58.2 from 54.5, while the employment index also improved to 57.3 from 56.1 (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by James Dalgleish)