An employee works on the production line of an automaker in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province. [YUAN JINGZHI/FOR CHINA DAILY] The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector came in at 51.9 in March, up from 50.6 in February, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Wednesday. By category, NBS figures show that the PMI for large, medium-sized and small businesses came in respectively at 52.7 percent, 51.6 percent and 50.4 percent, all up from the February level. This suggests the country is showing faster-than-expected factory activity recovery. The index serves as a key barometer of the health of the nation's manufacturing sector, The PMI for China's nonmanufacturing sector came in at 56.3 in March, up from 51.4 of last month, showing that economic recovery in the nonmanufacturing sector is gathering pace. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.