The U.S. manufacturing sector grew in August in the first month of expansion in more than a year and a half, according to an industry report released on Tuesday.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity rose to 52.9 in August from 48.9 in July. The median forecast of 78 economists surveyed by Reuters was for a reading of 50.5.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector.

The last time the index showed growth in the sector was in January 2008 with a reading of 50.8.

(Reporting by Chris Reese: editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)