Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in June following one month of contraction, and the overall economy grew for the 49th consecutive month, according to the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.

The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered 50.9%, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from May’s reading of 49%, indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector for the fifth time in the first six months of 2013.

A reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50% indicates that it is generally contracting.

The New Orders Index increased in June by 3.1 percentage points to 51.9%, and the Production Index increased by 4.8 percentage points to 53.4%. The Employment Index registered 48.7%, a decrease of 1.4 percentage points compared to May’s reading of 50.1%.

Manufacturing employment contracted for the first time since September 2009, when the index registered 47.8%. The Prices Index registered 52.5%, increasing 3 percentage points from May, indicating that overall raw materials prices increased from last month. Comments from the panel generally indicate slow growth and improving business conditions.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 12 are reporting growth in June in the following order: Furniture & Related Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Paper Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Petroleum & Coal Products; Wood Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Machinery; and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.

The four industries reporting contraction in June are: Textile Mills; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; and Computer & Electronic Products.

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