NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The growth rate for U.S. manufacturers improved from an already hot pace in July, according to a survey of executives in the sector, with the latest reading by the Institute of Supply Management in line with Wall Street expectations Monday.
The ISM index of goods producing companies came in with a reading of 62.0, up from the 61.1 reading in June. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com forecast a reading of 62.0.
Any reading over 50 indicates growth in the sector.
Although the 62.0 reading is a bit below levels reached from March through May, this marked the ninth straight month the index has remained above 60.0, the longest period of growth at that pace since a 12-month stretch from July 1972 to June 1973.
The survey's reading for new orders shot up to 64.7 percent from 60.0 in June, and the current production reading also improved to 66.1 from 63.2. Perhaps the best news on the survey came from a decrease in the prices paid reading to 77.0 from an 81.0 reading in June.
It marked the fourth straight month of decline in the prices paid index, suggesting that inflationary pressures are lessening. Less inflationary pressure could allow the Federal Reserve to go slowly raising interest rates as it seeks price stability.
The employment reading for the sector slowed a bit in the month to 57.3 from 59.7 in June. Those surveyed who had a greater number of employees fell to 25 percent from 35 percent in the June survey, but most of the shift affected those who had the same number of employees. Those who had fewer employees edged up to 10 percent in July from 9 percent in June.
It marked the ninth straight month that the employment reading has been above 50.0, following more than three straight years when the employment index in the survey showed a decline.