Manufacturing should improve in the second half of the year and expand well ahead of overall economic growth, said MAPI Chief Economist Daniel J. Meckstroth, who predicted manufacturing production growth would hit 2.2% for 2013 and 3.2% in 2014. "First-half GDP growth in the U.S. was slow because of a number of factors -- an increase in the payroll tax, the early effects of sequestration, and states' austerity," Meckstroth said. He noted that consumer spending remains strong and business investment continues to increase at a moderate rate.

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