US manufacturing likely expanded again in July

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

The Institute for Supply Management reports on U.S. manufacturing, orders and other activity in July. The ISM, a trade group of purchasing managers, will release its manufacturing index Friday at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

ANOTHER GAIN: Economists forecast that the index rose modestly in July to 55.8 to 55.3 in June, according to a survey by FactSet. Any reading higher than 50 signals that manufacturing is expanding.

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Manufacturing has grown for 13 straight months, but the pace of the expansion slowed in June from 55.4 in May. Growth in production and exports decelerated. Orders rose faster, and factories added jobs at the same pace they did in May, the ISM reported.

American factories have been busy. The Commerce Department reported last week that orders for durable goods rose 0.7 percent in June, and a category seen as a proxy for business investment plans rose a healthy 1.4 percent. Factories added 68,000 jobs this year through June, up from 26,000 in the first half of 2013.

GAINING MOMENTUM: The U.S. economy has been showing renewed strength. Economic growth clocked in an impressive 4 percent annual pace from April through June after getting off to a bad start the first three months of the year. Consumer spending on durable goods grew at a 14 percent annual rate in the second quarter, fastest pace since mid-2009. The government also reported this week that the overall economy grew faster than previously estimated in 2013.

The Labor Department is expected to report Friday that U.S. employers added 225,000 jobs in July and that unemployment remained at five-year low 6.1 percent.