WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. manufacturing grew faster in April than in March as exports picked up and factories accelerated hiring.
The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index rose to 54.9 from 53.7 in March. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.
A gauge of hiring jumped to 54.7 from 51.1 in March, a sign that factories added many more jobs in April. The government's jobs report for April will be released Friday.
The rise in the ISM's index adds to other evidence that manufacturers are expanding steadily after a sluggish start to the year. Americans are spending more at retail stores and car dealers after harsh winter weather kept consumers at home in the first two months of the year.