Business in the U.S. Midwest expanded in August, according to figures released Friday.

The National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago (search) business barometer rose to 58.9 from 55.9 in July.

A reading below 50 indicates a contracting regional manufacturing sector, while a reading above 50 signals expansion.

Since May, the index has been above the 50 level that marks the threshold between growth and contraction, suggesting the manufacturing sector in the Midwest is staging a mild economic recovery.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the August index at 55.5.

The employment component of the index rose to 51.2 from 46.0 in July. Prices paid rose to 52.4 from 47.9 last month.