The U.S. factory sector shrank further in April but at a slower pace, suggesting some stabilization in the battered sector and the broader economy, according to an industry report released on Friday.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity rose to 40.1 in April from 36.3 in March. The median forecast among economists polled by Reuters was 38.0.

A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the manufacturing sector. ISM said the index has been below this threshold for 15 straight months.

(Reporting by Richard Leong, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)