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Index of State Factory Sector Rises

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Times Staff Writer

California’s manufacturing sector grew faster in the third quarter, bucking slower expansion in the nation’s factories, according to an index released Friday.

Chapman University in Orange said its composite index for California manufacturing rose to 64.6 in the July-to-September period, up from 61.6 in the second quarter but down from 66.9 in the first three months of the year. A value above 50 shows a general expansion.

The gain primarily was sparked by a pickup in high technology, which includes computer and electronic equipment as well as aerospace, said Raymond Sfeir, Chapman economist and director of the survey.

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Two other manufacturing groups -- other durable goods and nondurable goods -- also enjoyed strong growth, Sfeir said.

The index, based on a survey of purchasing managers in the state, is similar to a national purchasing managers survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management. That survey showed a decline to 59.8 in the third quarter from 62.1 in the second quarter.

Since Chapman began the California survey in 2002, the state generally has been a leading indicator for national manufacturing activity, Sfeir said. When California -- the nation’s largest manufacturing state -- picks up, so does the nation, he said.

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