U.S. manufacturing activity unexpectedly accelerated in October, rising to 56.9 from 54.4 in the Institute for Supply Management factory gauge released Monday.

Economists had predicted the ISM manufacturing index would slip to 54.0 in September. Index readings above 50 indicate growth, while those below 50 signal contraction.

Steven Wood, chief economist at Insight Economics, said the September gain was the 15th in a row for the ISM factory gauge. The prices paid component index rose to 71.0 in September from 70.5 in August. The employment index edged up to 57.7 from 56.5.

“The declines in manufacturing activity should be behind us,” Wood said. “A moderate recovery from very low levels is underway.”

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