WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing grew in November at the fastest pace in 2½ years as factories ramped up production, stepped up hiring and received orders at a healthy clip.
The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity rose to 57.3. That was up from 56.4 in October and was the highest since April 2011. A reading above 50 signals growth.
One component of the index, a measure of hiring, rose to its highest level in nearly 18 months. And a gauge of export orders reached its highest level in nearly two years. Overseas demand is benefiting from modest recoveries in Europe, Japan and China.
The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers.
Manufacturing activity has now expanded for six straight months after hitting a rough patch in the spring. The steady gains suggest that growth is remaining solid in the current October-December quarter.
And U.S. builders increased construction spending in October at the fastest pace in more than four years, a separate report on Monday showed. Government spending on public projects drove the increase. By contrast, spending on home construction fell.
Still, the encouraging figures in the ISM’s report conflict with weaker recent data on factory activity, making it difficult to discern a clear trend.
“We continue to believe that this indicator is overstating the health of the broader economy,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc.
For example, businesses cut back on orders for long-lasting factory goods in October, according to a government report Wednesday. Orders for durable goods, which are meant to last three years, fell 2 percent.
A fall in aircraft demand drove the decline. But companies also spent less on machinery, computers and metal parts. The weak showing suggests that businesses might have been reluctant to order more goods during the 16-day partial government shutdown in October.
One reason for the divergence could be that the ISM’s index doesn’t adequately measure smaller manufacturers, according to Ian Shepherdson, an economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Larger companies are likely benefiting more from recoveries overseas.
Separate reports Monday showed that manufacturers in China and Europe expanded in November, though more slowly than in the United States. Still, factories in Europe grew at the fastest pace in nearly two years, according to a survey by Markit.
Another reason for the conflicting reports may be that production of non-durable goods appears to be stronger than production of durable goods. For example, the ISM report showed that manufacturing in non-durable areas like the food, textiles, petroleum, chemical and paper products industries grew. At the same time, some durable goods industries, such as machinery, contracted in November.
Some respondents to the ISM’s survey said federal spending cuts and budget battles in Washington limited business spending on durable goods last month.
Separately, factory output rose for a third straight month in October, according to the Federal Reserve, driven higher by greater production of primary metals and furniture.
The mixed picture comes as the economy is thought to be slowing in the October-December quarter to an annual rate of 2 percent or less. That would be down from a 2.8 percent annual pace in the July-September quarter.
Much of the third quarter’s growth was due to companies rebuilding their stockpiles. The economy is unlikely to benefit from a similar trend in the current quarter.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
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11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
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19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
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20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
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24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
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25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
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