U.S. Factories Report Strong Demand, as Tariffs, Prices Threaten Expansion

U.S. factories reported robust demand for their products in March but say rising prices for materials, tied to new tariffs, threaten to slow the industry’s expansion.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday its index of factory activity settled at 59.3 in March, down slightly from 60.8 the prior month. Any reading above 50 indicates rising activity, as measured by factors such as product sales, hiring and production.

The latest reading, based on a survey of factories, was slightly below economists’ expectations of a reading of 59.8. But it remained near the highest levels of the past decade. In February, the index stood at the highest level since 2004.

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