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US Manufacturing Increases Again - 2003-12-01

Activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector has increased for the fifth month in a row.

The Arizona-based Institute for Supply Management compiles a monthly index of manufacturing activity in the United States. The latest reading shows a jump of nearly six points, from 57 to 62.8 in November, with new orders and production sharply higher. The gain was the largest recorded in five consecutive months of increases in the index, which stood below 50 as recently as June.

The boost in manufacturing was larger than many economists had expected, and viewed as a sign that strong U.S. economic growth recorded in the third quarter of this year will continue in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department is reporting an all-time monthly high in U.S. construction spending. The value of building projects underway for the month of October totaled $922 billion, a 0.9 percent increase from the previous month and a record high, led by strong spending on residential and public works projects.