TEMPE, AZ—The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose to 55.3 percent last month from 54.2 percent in February. The latest reading exceeded the MarketWatch forecast of 54.6 percent.
Another measure, the IHS Markit manufacturing purchasing managers index, fell to 52.4 vs. 53 in February, the lowest reading since June 2017. Any number above 50 percent reflects a growing economy.
The index for new orders jumped 1.9 points to 57.4 percent, while production rose 1 point to 55.8 percent. Employment surged 5.2 points to 57.5 percent. Sixteen of the 18 U.S. manufacturing industries surveyed by ISM expanded in March.