Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in May, and the overall economy grew for the 96th consecutive month, according to the nation's supply executives.

The Institute for Supply Management’s report, released on June 1, showed that the May PMI registered 54.9%, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the April reading of 54.8%.

Highlights of the report include:

--The New Orders Index registered 59.5%, an increase of 2 percentage points from the April reading of 57.5%.

--The Production Index registered 57.1%, a 1.5 percentage points decrease compared to the April reading of 58.6%.

--The Employment Index registered 53.5%, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the April reading of 52%.

--The Inventories Index registered 51.5%, an increase of 0.5 percentage point from the April reading of 51%.

--The Prices Index registered 60.5% in May, a decrease of 8 percentage points from the April reading of 68.5%, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 15th consecutive month, but at a noticeably slower rate of increase in May compared with April.

--The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 53.1%, which is 2 percentage points lower than the 55.1% reported for April. This is the 13th straight month of slowing supplier deliveries, indicating supply chains are adjusting to increased demand levels.

--The New Export Orders Index registered 57.5% in May, a decrease of 2 percentage points when compared to the 59.5% reported for April, indicating growth in new export orders for the 15th consecutive month.

--The Imports Index registered 53.5% in May, a decrease of 2 percentage points when compared to the 55.5% reported for April, indicating that imports are growing in May for the fourth consecutive month but at a slower rate.