ECONOMY

US manufacturing growth picks up speed for 1st time in 6 months as orders, employment grow

In this May 14, 2015 photo, Kuka robots work on Tesla Model S cars in the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, issues its index of manufacturing activity for May on Monday, June 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

In this May 14, 2015 photo, Kuka robots work on Tesla Model S cars in the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, issues its index of manufacturing activity for May on Monday, June 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. manufacturing growth accelerated in May for the first time in six months, propelled by more new orders and an increase in hiring.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, says that its manufacturing index rose to 52.8 last month, from 51.5 in April. That's the highest reading since February. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.

A measure of production fell, but it remained above 50. A gauge of new orders rose to the highest level since December, a sign production should pick up in the months ahead.

And a measure of employment jumped to 51.7, after falling below 50 in April. That means manufacturers added jobs last month.