Americans increased their spending in April at retail businesses, buying more cars and clothes after cutting purchases sharply in March. The rebound suggests consumers may help boost growth again in the April-June quarter.
Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes dipped in March as the supply remained tight, but the sales pace remained ahead of last year's.
A survey shows U.S. manufacturing activity expanded more slowly in March than February, held back by weaker growth in production and new orders. But factories hired at the fastest pace in nine months, an encouraging sign ahead of Friday's report on March employment.
U.S. builders started more houses and apartments in February and received building permits for future construction at the fastest pace in 4½ years. The increases point to a housing recovery that is gaining strength.
Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, indicating companies continue to hire at a modest but steady pace.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to the lowest level in five years, evidence that employers are cutting fewer jobs and may step up hiring.
Holiday shopping, strong auto sales and a recovering housing market helped boost the U.S. economy from the middle of November through early January, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday.
Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits ticked up slightly last week, the latest sign of slow but consistent gains in the job market.
The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent over the summer as consumers spent more and state and local governments added to growth for the first time in three years — but the economy is likely slowing in the current quarter.