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Construction spending and manufacturing growing -- slightly

November 1, 2011 | 10:35 am

Commerce Department and Institute for Supply Management numbers show that construction spending and manufacturing are up.

Construction spending and manufacturing activity are both growing, though not by much, according to two reports Tuesday.

Builders in the U.S. spent at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $787.2 billion in September, up 0.2% from August in the second-straight monthly increase, according to the Commerce Department.

Private construction efforts used up $501.8 billion, with spending on residential buildings jumping 0.9% to $228.3 billion. Public construction, such as for new school structures, slumped 0.6% to $285.4 billion.

A separate report showed that the U.S. manufacturing sector has been expanding for 27 months straight, with an index of national factory activity settling at 50.8 in October, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

But the rate of growth slowed from 51.6 in September. Any level above 50 represents expansion, while an index below 50 shows contraction.

New orders are up after three months of tightening, to 52.4 from 49.6 in September. Though categories such as apparel and plastics are down, factory activity in computer and electronic products as well as food and beverage goods is increasing.

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Fewer exports push trade deficit to highest level since 2008

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

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