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US factory growth up in September despite supply woes

FILE - In this March 24, 2021 file photo, mid-sized pickup trucks and full-size vans are seen in a parking lot outside a General Motors assembly plant where they are produced in Wentzville, Mo. The global shortage of computer chips is getting worse, forcing automakers to temporarily close factories including those that build popular pickup trucks. General Motors announced Thursday, Sept, 2, 2021 that it would pause production at seven North American plants during the next two weeks, including two that make the company’s top-selling Chevrolet Silverado pickup. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing growth accelerated last month to the highest level since May despite global supply chain disruptions.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Friday that its index of manufacturing activity rose to a reading of 61.1 percent in September, 1.2 percentage points above the August level of 59.9 percent.

It was the best showing for manufacturing since a reading of 61.2 in May. Any reading above 50 indicates growth in the sector. September marked the 16th consecutive month manufacturing has grown after contracting in April 2020 when the coronavirus triggered a nationwide shutdown.

In recent months, the biggest swing factor for manufacturers has been problems on the supply side as rising cases of the delta variant globally crimp supply, such as the slowing production of computer chips in Asia, which have hit automakers and others hard.

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