Factory activity contracted again in February, but at a less severe rate, according to an industry report released on Monday.

A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.

Economists had expected a reading of 33.8, according to the median of their 74 forecasts in a Reuters poll, which ranged from 30.0 to 36.9.

(Reporting by Burton Frierson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)