July 2, 2014 10:10 AM, EDT
Factories Sustain Gains as Growth Picks Up
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News

American factories, propelled by the strongest orders of the year, sustained gains in June and are poised to be part of the rebound in economic growth.

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index was 55.3 last month, little changed from a five-month high of 55.4 in May, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s report showed July 2. Readings greater than 50 indicate expansion.

Producers of wood products, furniture, metals and machinery were among those seeing a pickup in demand as gains in auto and home sales rippled through the world’s largest economy. Growing consumer spending, lean inventories and improving overseas markets probably will keep assembly lines busy in the second half of the year.

“Manufacturing is back on track,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc. “It’s growing at a solid pace.”

The median forecast of 88 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected the ISM index would rise to 55.9. Estimates ranged from 54 to 57. Manufacturing accounts for about 12 percent of the economy.