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TORONTO, March 6 (Reuters) - The pace of purchasing activity in Canada unexpectedly picked up in February as new inventories climbed, the Ivey Purchasing Managers Index showed on Thursday.
The seasonally adjusted index rose to 57.2 from 56.8 in January, surpassing analysts' expectations for a slowdown to 53.5.
A reading above 50 indicates an increase in the pace of activity. The unadjusted index rose to 57.8 from 53.6.
The measure of inventories rebounded to 53.3 from 48.4. While the employment gauge still showed hiring activity shrank last month, the pace of contraction eased to 49 from 45.1.
The prices index held steady at 65.2, but the supplier deliveries index tumbled to 44.6 from 51.6.