TEMPE, Ariz. ( TheStreet) -- The Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Business Survey showed its eighth consecutive month of growth in March, and its fastest-growth rate since July 2004, according to the latest ISM data released on Thursday mid-morning.

New orders and production reached above the 60-point mark, positive indicators that offset a decline in the ISM's employment index, which slipped by a point in March.

The PMI registered 59.6 in March, an increase of 3.1% over February's seasonally adjusted reading of 56.5. If the PMI for March is annualized, it corresponds to a 5.9% increase in real GDP annually, the ISM reported.

The ISM's new orders index was 2 percentage points higher than the seasonally adjusted 59.5 percent registered in February -- the ninth consecutive month of growth in the new orders index.

ISM's Employment Index registered 55.1% in March, which is 1% lower than the seasonally adjusted 56.1% reported in February. Still, it was the fourth consecutive month of growth in manufacturing employment. Thirteen of the 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in employment in March.

-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.

Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

More from Opinion

Elon Musk's Latest Twitter Tirade Is the Dumbest Thing on Wall Street

Elon Musk's Latest Twitter Tirade Is the Dumbest Thing on Wall Street

Elon Musk's Twitter Tirade Is the Dumbest Thing on Wall Street

Elon Musk's Twitter Tirade Is the Dumbest Thing on Wall Street

Why Google's Search Momentum Won't Be Badly Hurt by New EU Rules

Why Google's Search Momentum Won't Be Badly Hurt by New EU Rules

Flashback Friday: Amazon, Chip Stocks, Memorial Day

Flashback Friday: Amazon, Chip Stocks, Memorial Day

Time to Talk Tesla: What Happened This Week, Elon?

Time to Talk Tesla: What Happened This Week, Elon?