US manufacturing and construction growth quickens
Growth in US manufacturing accelerated in March from the previous
month. The Institute for Supply Management's growth index rose to 53.7
from 53.2 in February.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion. Manufacturing was spurred by
factories' productivity as they recovered from the severe winter
Meanwhile, US construction spending also rose in February compared
with January, said Commerce Department sources. They said construction
spending increased by 0.1% in February after a 0.2% drop in January.
Spending was boosted by building hotels, motels and non-residential
buildings, helping to lessen the impact from the fall in housing
construction, it said.
Increased spending on government projects also gave the figures a
The construction rate was 8.7% higher than a year ago, at a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of $945.7 billion.
Factories were forced to close and supply shipments were disrupted by
savage winter weather in the US, which hit manufacturing figures.
The manufacturing index recovered marginally in February, despite
production reaching a five-year low. But the index recovered all its
losses in March.
Manufacturers said orders were picking up, which could lead to more
positive news in the coming months.