) -- The pace of manufacturing activity around the Midwest region appeared to slow just a bit this month, though the same survey of factory executives released Wednesday continued hinting that the sector was experiencing expansion.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers' index registered a seasonally adjusted 59.1 in June, down slightly from 59.7 in May. Still, this month's final figure landed largely in-line with expectations. Consensus forecasts provided by

had called for the reading to register 59.

The reading offers a monthly snapshot of the industry by cobbling together survey responses of purchasing executives in and around the Chicago area. Any figure above 50 tends to denote growth in the sector, while a mark below that hints at contraction.

Indices tracking individual manufacturing fields showed mixed results. The report's production gauge improved to a 64.2 reading in June from 61 in May. The new orders barometer, however, backtracked to 59.1 after registering 62.7 the month before.

After tumbling into contraction territory in May, the report's employment measure rebounded to read 54.2 in June. Separately, another report Wednesday said

private sector employers added a mere 13,000 jobs to payrolls this month, well off the pace many economists had expected. The news comes ahead of Friday's highly anticipated government labor report, which is expected to show nonfarm payrolls lost 100,000 jobs. The nation's unemployment rate is also expected to edge higher to 9.8% from 9.7%.

Wednesday's regional report serves as one precursor to the Institute for Supply Management's more broad business activity report, scheduled for release Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT. That reading is also expected to fall marginally to a 59 reading in June from 59.7 in May.

Stocks were holding higher after the report, with the

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were all trading in positive territory.

--Written by Sung Moss in New York