Page last updated at 17:48 GMT, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 18:48 UK

US manufacturing growth rate 'slowed in May'

US tool manufacturer production line
Manufacturing employment growth accelerated

The US manufacturing sector expanded for its 10th consecutive month in May, but at a slower rate, a survey says.

The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM's) purchasing managers index fell to 59.7 points last month, slightly down from 60.4 the month before.

A figure of 50 or above represents growth.

Meanwhile, data from the Census Bureau showed that US spending in the construction industry rose in April at its fastest monthly rate since 2000.

Construction up

The ISM's purchasing managers index figure was slightly ahead of analysts' expectations, and the survey also reported that the rate of manufacturing employment growth accelerated in May.

"We haven't lost much in the way of momentum," Norbert Ore, chairman of the ISM's manufacturing survey, told reporters. "The manufacturing sector continues to move ahead."

Paul Ashworth, senior US economist with Capital Economics, added that the concern about excessive European government debt "doesn't appear to have harmed the prospects of US manufacturers, at least not yet".

Separately, the Census Bureau's survey on construction found spending in April was up 2.7% from March, driven by growth in building private residential homes.

However, despite the strong data, spending on house building remains 61% below its peak of early 2006, while non-residential spending remains in the doldrums.

The US housing market has experienced a rebound in recent months, partly driven by a tax credit on home sales that expired at the end of April.

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