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US manufacturing picked up slightly in March on strong new orders and rising production

U.S. manufacturing grew at a slightly faster pace in March compared with February as factory output recovered from severe winter weather. Manufacturers also received more orders, suggesting that production could strengthen further in the months ahead.

The Institute for Supply Management, a group of purchasing managers, says its manufacturing index increased to 53.7 from 53.2 in February. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The index had plunged in January as harsh winter weather shut down factories and disrupted supply shipments. It rebounded slightly in February, although a measure of production plummeted to a five-year low that month. The production gauge recovered all its losses in March.

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