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Survey: US factory activity rises to near a 3-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories expanded at a robust pace in June, a likely sign of strength for the U.S. economy as new orders, production and employment each improved.

The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index rose to 57.8 last month from 54.9 in May. Anything above 50 signals that factory activity is increasing. The measure now stands at its highest level since August 2014, pointing to solid economic growth.

Fifteen of 18 manufacturing industries surveyed by ISM posted growth in June, including the furniture, machinery, fabricated metals and petroleum and coal sectors.

U.S. factories have largely recovered from a slump in late 2015 and early 2016 caused by cutbacks in the energy industry and a strong dollar, which makes U.S. goods more expensive in foreign markets.

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