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Dec 1, 10:27 AM EST

US factory growth slowed in November but still looks strong


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AP Photo/John Minchillo

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- American factories grew more slowly in November but still appear healthy.

The Institute for Supply Management said Friday that its manufacturing index slipped to 58.2 last month from 58.7 in October. Anything above 50 signals that U.S. factories are expanding. American manufacturing is on a 15-month winning streak.

New orders and production grew faster in November. Hiring and new export orders grew but at a slower pace.

The ISM, a trade association of purchasing managers, said 14 of 18 manufacturing industries expanded in November, led by paper and machinery makers.

"This is a very solid report," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. "The manufacturing upswing continues."

U.S. industry has benefited from an improving global economy and from a fall in the dollar, which makes U.S. products less expensive in foreign markets.

The Commerce Department reported this week that the American economy expanded at a 3.3 percent annual pace from July through September, the fastest in three years. The unemployment rate has fallen to a 17-year low 4.1 percent.

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