U.S. manufacturing activity (search) receded in April amid a drop in new orders and a deterioration in hiring, according to a report published on Monday.

Data from the Institute for Supply Management (search) showed the industry group's index of national factory activity falling to 53.3 in April from 55.2 in March. Wall Street analysts had predicted the survey would show little change from last month.

A reading above 50 indicates the factory sector is growing, which it has done for nearly two years.

The employment index, which gauges hiring trends, declined to 52.3 from 53.3, while the prices paid index dipped to 71 from 73. The new orders measure also hinted at slower growth, retreating to 53.7 from 57.1.

The ISM index (search) is compiled from monthly responses of purchasing executives at more than 400 industrial companies, ranging from textiles to chemicals to paper.