Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September following three consecutive months of slight contraction, and the overall economy grew for the 40th consecutive month, according to the latest report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

In comparison to August, the report showed a 1.9-percent rise in the PMI index to 51.5 percent, an increase of 5.2 percentage points in new orders and a 2.3-percent growth in production. The employment index also rose by 3.1 percentage points, while the price index surged 4 percentage points to 58 percent.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries surveyed, 11 reported growth in September including textile mills; food, beverage and tobacco products; printing and related support activities; wood products; apparel, leather and allied products; paper products; petroleum and coal products; primary metals; fabricated metal products; furniture and related products; and miscellaneous manufacturing.

The six industries reporting contraction in September were nonmetallic mineral products; electrical equipment, appliances and components; transportation equipment; machinery; chemical products; and computer and electronic products.

Comments from survey respondents reflected a mix of optimism over new orders beginning to pick up and continued concern over soft global business conditions and an unsettled political environment.

To read the full ISM report, visit www.ism.ws.