WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. factory activity expanded at a slower pace in April compared with March as manufacturers pulled back sharply on hiring and cut their stockpiles.
The Institute for Supply Management says its index of manufacturing activity slipped to 50.7, down from 51.3 in March and the slowest pace this year. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
A measure of hiring fell to 50.2, the lowest level since November. But several aspects of the report were encouraging: Measures of new orders and production rose. Order backlogs also grew at a faster pace.
The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers.
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