WASHINGTON -- The manufacturing sector broke out of a five-month slump and rebounded in October with the help of a strong rise in new orders, according to a purchasing managers' report issued yesterday.

The National Association of Purchasing Management said its index surged to 53.8% from 49.7% in September, the first reading above 50% since May. The index is based on a survey of industrial purchasing managers, and a reading above 50% is generally taken to mean that the manufacturing sector is expanding.

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