* PMI index 55.6 in Oct, against 54.2 in Sept
* New orders climb, pace of employment slips
By Leah Schnurr
TORONTO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - The pace of growth in the Canadian manufacturing sector picked up in October to its strongest level in two and a half years as firms saw greater demand for their products, data showed on Friday.
The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ index (PMI), a gauge of manufacturing business conditions, rose to a seasonally adjusted 55.6 last month from 54.2 in September, making for the highest level since April 2011.
The forward-looking new orders measure matched that record, rising to 58.5, while output climbed to 56.6.
A reading above 50 shows growth in the sector.
“Canada’s manufacturing sector experienced a significant jump in October ... a sign that global economic momentum is continuing to improve,” Craig Wright, chief economist at RBC, said in a statement.
The employment gauge slipped slightly to 53.7, though the rate of jobs growth was still solid. About 16 percent of manufacturers said they had hired more staff in October, many of them attributing this to a higher volume of new orders.
After contracting earlier in the year, the sector has expanded for seven months in a row.