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Hiring and Production Improve at Factories

Associated Press (04/02/12)

The Institute for Supply Management reported on April 2 that factories increased hiring and production in March, as its index of manufacturing activity rose to 53.4 for the month. That was up from 52.4 in February. Fifteen of 18 manufacturing industries reported expansion, including mining, steel and other metal production, oil and gas, autos, and furniture. Manufacturers are already a big source of job gains, having added more than 100,000 jobs in the last three months, about one-seventh of all net gains.

Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department said construction spending fell 1.1% in February, after a fall of 0.8% in January. The weak report indicates that the construction industry is still struggling more than two and a half years after the recession ended.