U.S. manufacturers cut back on production in April as auto companies cranked out fewer cars, factories made fewer consumer goods and most other industries reduced output. The weakness suggests economic growth may be slowing this spring.
Fewer Americans sought unemployment aid last week, reducing the average number of weekly applications last month to a five-year low. The drop shows that fewer layoffs are strengthening the job market.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose sharply last week but remained at a level consistent with moderate hiring.
U.S. service companies grew in September at the fastest pace in six months, helped by a sharp increase in customer demand.
U.S. builders spent more to construct homes in August, further evidence of a housing rebound. Still, the increase couldn't offset cuts in public projects and commercial real estate.
Americans boosted their spending in August even though their income barely grew. Much of the spending increase went to pay higher gas prices, which may have forced consumers to cut back elsewhere.
U.S. factory activity shrank for the third straight month in August as new orders, production and employment all fell. The report adds to other signs that manufacturing is struggling around the globe.
Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear Friday that the Federal Reserve will do more to boost the economy because of high U.S. unemployment and an economic recovery that remains "far from satisfactory."
U.S. manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in nearly three years, adding to signs that economic growth is weakening.