US manufacturing shows further improvement in July

WASHINGTON — U.S. manufacturing improved again in July with a key gauge of activity rising for a second straight month.

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index rose to 54.2 last month, up from a June reading of 52.6. Any reading above 50 signas that U.S. manufacturing is expanding.

The June increase had put the index back in expansion territory after it dipped below 50 in March, indicating a recession in manufacturing as the coronavirus pandemic shut down the economy.