WASHINGTON — U.S. factories revved up production, hired more workers, and received a surge of new orders in July, helping them expand at the fastest pace in two years. The gains suggest manufacturing may be rebounding and could provide a spark to economic growth.
The Institute for Supply Management said Thursday that its index of factory activity jumped to 55.4 in July, up from 50.9 in June. A reading above 50 indicates growth. The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers.