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US manufacturing expands at best pace in 2½ years

WASHINGTON — U.S. factory activity expanded in October at the fastest pace in 2 ½ years, suggesting businesses kept spending last month despite the partial government shutdown.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, says its manufacturing index rose in October to 56.4. That’s up from 56.2 in September. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

It was the fifth straight gain for the index. A measure of new orders rose slightly, while a gauge of production fell but remained at a high level. Factories added jobs, though at a slower pace than the previous month.



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