US manufacturing activity expanded at a faster-than-expected rate in February.
The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing index rose to 53.2 from 51.3 in January. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Separate data showed construction spending rose slightly in January, helped by residential construction.
Manufacturing and construction are key to the US economy and there were fears that severe weather across many parts of the US may have hurt the sectors.
Bradley Holcomb, chair of ISM’s survey committee said that while several manufacturers said severe weather was impacting their business, “other comments reflect optimism in terms of demand and growth in the near term”.
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