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September U.S. Manufacturing Activity Better Than Expected

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WASHINGTON (10/2/13)--U.S. manufacturing activity increased more than expected in September, according to the Institute For Supply Management's Manufacturing Index  (The Wall Street Journal and Moody's Economy.com Oct. 1).
 
The index rose to 56.2--its highest reading this year--from 55.7 in August. A reading above 50 indicates expanding economic activity.
 
For the second consecutive month, the new-orders component was above 60. The production index crept up to 62.6 from 62.4.
 
The employment index also increased between August and September--a good omen for the labor market, Moody's said.
 
For the third quarter, the ISM index averaged 55.8--noticeably better than the second quarter's 50.2 average, Moody's added.  
 
The ISM report's outlook generally is positive for improving business conditions and increased demand, according to the Journal.