3M's sales grew 3% in October to $2.9 billion, buoyed by its health care and consumer sectors.

However, the Maplewood-based company's sales growth in October fell shy of the 4.6 % year-over-year increase during the third quarter, the company said Friday.

Organic sales — which factors out effects of recent acquisitions and divestitures as well as currency fluctuations — grew 2% year over year. Organic sales rose 8% in both 3M's health care and consumer divisions.

Due to COVID-19, demand exceeds supply for 3M's N95 respirators, the gold standard for health care workers. Meanwhile, consumers have stepped up spending this year on household items, both for cleaning and home improvement — trends also rooted in the pandemic. Organic sales in 3M's safety and industrial unit rose 4% in October, which is consistent with national reports on factory activity.

But they fell 4% in the transportation and electronics unit. Pandemic-driven economic weakness in the global auto and personal electronics industries have hurt 3M this year. Geographically, 3M's organic sales grew 2% in the Americas (including 3% in the U.S.) and 1% in both Asia and Europe and the Middle East.

3M began releasing monthly sales snapshots earlier this year after the pandemic caused economic downturns around the world. The company's shares ended Friday at $169.79, up 1.6%.

Mike Hughlett • 612-673-7003