Pace of US factory growth slipped in March

Elbony Jeter
AP Photo/Sean Rayford

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturers say they expanded at a slower pace in March.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reports that its manufacturing index slipped to 59.3 last month from February’s reading of 60.8, which had been the highest since 2004. Any score above 50 signals growth.

The categories of new orders, production and employment each fell in March for manufacturers, even though the underlying numbers remained positive.

Multiple companies surveyed for the index said that the introduction of steel and aluminum tariffs by President Donald Trump were causing concerns about rising prices. Some companies bought up the metals ahead of their implementation, driving up costs. Trump is trying to support U.S. steel and aluminum mills, though his tariffs include exemptions for allies.

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