US manufacturing improves in July, outlook clouded by virus

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WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing showed further improvement in July with a key gauge of activity rising further into expansion territory.

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index rose to 54.2 last month, up from a June reading of 52.6. Any reading above 50 signals that U.S. manufacturing is expanding.

The June increase had put the index back in expansion territory after it had fallen below 50, indicating a recession in manufacturing, back in March as the coronavirus pandemic shut down activity.

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