STRONG GROWTH: Manufacturing activity increased at a brisk pace in March, though slightly below February's rapid rate, which was the fastest in nearly seven years. The manufacturing sector has been powering the recovery as consumers spend more on autos, appliances and electronic goods.
A BIT SLOWER: The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said that its index of manufacturing activity dipped to 61.2 from 61.4 in February.
PRICES RISING: The report raised concerns about materials costs. Manufacturers are paying more for cotton and other commodities, and many are concerned the higher prices could cut into their profit margins.