- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) — The economic recovery is showing new signs of staying power, a trio of reports said yesterday, with a pickup at the nation’s factories complemented by robust consumer spending and construction activity.

The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose to 63.6 in January from a revised 63.4 in December. The reading signals a recovery that is broadening across manufacturing industries, although it still is not generating many new jobs, analysts said.

In other economic news, the Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose by 0.4 percent in December, after a 0.5 percent rise the previous month. The November reading was better than the government had estimated.

Consumer spending rose solidly in both November and December, better than earlier in the fall when spending was flat.

The government also reported yesterday that construction spending in December rose to its highest level ever.

The total value of building projects under way rose 0.4 percent from November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $933.2 billion. Residential projects by private builders led the way, with spending on those projects also rising to a record monthly high.

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