NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
The pace of manufacturing remained strong in October, according to a survey of business executives released Tuesday that beat Wall Street expectations.
The closely watched Institute for Supply Management's index came in at 59.1 for October, down only slightly from a 59.4 reading in September, when results were lifted by businesses gearing up for hurricane relief efforts.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a 57 reading for October. Any reading above 50 indicates growth among goods-producing companies.
The survey of business executives showed new orders and production levels both remaining strong, although slowing slightly from the September readings. Of those surveyed, 30 percent reported an increase in new orders, and 31 percent reported better production levels, although both components were weaker than the prior month.
While manufacturing remained strong, the report had one troubling sign for markets, as businesses reported higher prices for the goods they need. The prices paid subindex rose to 84 from 78 in September, the highest reading since May 2004.
The report showed 70 percent of those surveyed reported paying higher prices, versus 60 percent who reported paying more a month ago. Only 2 percent of those surveyed reported paying lower prices in October.
The survey's employment index rose to 55 from 53.1 in September, as 18 percent of those surveyed reported higher employment levels and 69 percent reported stable employment levels.
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