Washington, DC, April 1, 2013 -- Manufacturing growth slowed sharply in March to the lowest level since December, according to the Institute for Supply Management.
The index fell to 51.3% from 54.2% in February, with readings over 50 indicating expansion.
Economists had expected the index to remain unchanged at 54.2%.
The new-orders measure dropped to 51.3% from 57.8%. However, the bright spot was employment, which rose to 54.2% from 52.6%.