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US manufacturing activity picks up in February after slow January

WASHINGTON--U.S. manufacturing activity picked up in February after slowing in January amid severe winter weather, the Institute for Supply Management said Monday.

The ISM's purchasing managers index rose to 53.2 February, rebounding from a sharp fall in January to 51.3, a level not far above the 50 reading between expansion and contraction.

The gain was stronger than analysts' consensus estimate of a 51.6 reading.

The new orders component surged to 54.5 in February from January's level of 51.2 as respondents to the ISM survey of purchasing managers reported strong demand and an improved outlook for growth.

But production tumbled to 48.2 from 54.8, and employment was unchanged at 52.3.

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