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Chinese manufacturing expands in October but at slower pace

China’s manufacturing activity expanded in October for the eighth straight month, though at a slightly slower rate than in September, the National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday.

The Purchasing Managers Index stood at 51.4, down from 51.5 the previous month, the agency announced. A reading above 50 in the monthly survey of companies indicates expansion.

The economy has gradually recovered since the index plunged to 35.7 in February during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in China. The world's second largest economy grew 4.9% in the three months ending Sept. 30, the second straight quarter of growth.

Manufacturing employment remained in negative territory with a reading of 49.3, a decline from 49.6 in September. China has struggled to get people back to work even as the pandemic has largely receded at home.