NEW YORK — U.S. manufacturing expanded in November as new orders and production improved, but the pace of growth was a touch weaker than the prior month.

The Institute for Supply Management, a Tempe, Ariz.-based trade group, said Monday that its manufacturing index registered 50.8 last month, down from 50.9 in October. A reading above 50 indicates growth; below that spells contraction.

The results were slightly stronger than the 50.1 expected by analysts polled by Thomson/IFR Markets.

"Manufacturing continued to grow during November, a trend that is now in its 10th month," Norbert Ore, chairman of the institute's business survey committee, said in a statement.

"While other segments of the economy are struggling, manufacturing continues to grow due to continuing strength in new orders, and a recovery in production from last month," he said. "Prices, driven higher by energy prices, are once again the major concern."

The index for new orders rose to 52.6 in November from 52.5 in October, while production expanded to 51.9 last month from 49.6 in October.

Seven industries reported growth in November — apparel and leather; food, beverage and tobacco; paper products; chemical products; machinery; electrical equipment, appliances and components; and computer and electronic products.

The latest report also showed strong growth in export orders, which registered a 58.5 reading in November, up from 57.0 in October.

The price index, meanwhile, advanced to 67.5 from 63.0 the month before.