TEMPE, AZ-U.S. manufacturing activity grew for the 13th consecutive month in June, albeit at a slightly slower pace than in previous months.

The Institute for Supply Management's PMI index, which measures manufacturing activity, registered 61.1 percent in June. That's a decrease of 1.7 percentage points from the May 2004 figure of 62.8 percent, but it's still 10.7 percentage points higher than the June 2003 figure of 50.4 percent. An index above 50 indicates expansion within the manufacturing sector. A reading below 50 signifies contraction.

"The manufacturing second grew at a slightly slower, but still aggressive, rate in June," says Norbert J. Ore, chairman of the institute's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee and group director for strategic sourcing and procurement for Georgia-Pacific Corp. (Atlanta). "The rate of growth in new orders and production is encouraging as we head into the third quarter."

The institute's Customer Inventories Index indicates that customer inventories are low, while the Prices Index indicates that manufacturers once again encountered higher prices in their purchases. The Backlog of Orders Index shows that order backlogs increased in June.

After 37 straight months of contraction, the Employment Index posted its eighth straight month of growth in June. Some 17 industries reported employment growth in June, including instruments and photographic equipment; industrial and commercial equipment; computers; electronic components and equipment; and transportation equipment.