CHICAGO, April 30 (Reuters) - Business activity in the U.S. Midwest contracted in April at a much less severe rate than expected as new orders jumped, a report showed on Thursday.
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business barometer rose to 40.1 from 31.4 in March, which was a new low for the current downturn.
Economists had forecast the index at 35.0. A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the regional economy.
The employment component of the index rose to 31.8 from 28.1 in March. Prices paid fell to 28.4 from 34.1 and new orders jumped to 42.1 from 30.9.
Reporting by Ros Krasny, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama