U.S. manufacturers grew slightly in April as new orders rose, but they also scaled back employment to the lowest level since fall 2009, a survey of executives found. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index was flat at 51.5%, below the 52.2% forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch. Stil, readings over 50% indicate more companies are expanding instead of shrinking. Yet the employment gauge dropped 1.7 points to 48.3%, the lowest level since September 2009 as the economy was emerging from the Great Recession. The ISM's new-orders index rose to 53.5% from 51.8%, however. Fifteen of the industries tracked by ISM reported growth last month, up from just 10 in the prior month.
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