The pace of manufacturing growth slowed in April as the sector expanded only modestly, an industry report showed on Wednesday, adding to signs the economy cooled as the second quarter got underway.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity fell to 50.7 from 51.3 in March, coming in below expectations for 50.9.
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A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
In a sign of potential resiliency, the forward-looking new orders component edged up to 52.3 from 51.4, while production improved to 53.5 from 52.2.
But employment fell to 50.2 from 54.2, boding poorly for the Labor Department's national unemployment report due on Friday.
Economic growth re-accelerated in the first quarter of the year, but recent data has suggested it slowed again in the spring months, a pattern seen in recent years that has become known as a "spring swoon".
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)