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November 2, 2010    

US manufacturing activity picks up in October

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by Kay Murchie

An industry report published yesterday revealed a pick up in US manufacturing activity, due to increasing demand from exports.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its latest index of national factory activity grew to 56.9 in October, from 54.4 the previous month.

The reading represented the highest since May and surprised analysts who had expected a level of 54.

Furthermore, the index continues to stay above the crucial 50 mark, which indicates expansion.

Meanwhile, the index of sector employment also rose to 57.7 in the month, from 56.5 in September.

The figures came shortly after it was revealed that consumer spending slowed in September.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending in the US rose by 0.2% in September, after increasing by 0.5% the previous two months.

The figures suggest consumers are tightening their purse strings despite very low prices.

Consumer spending makes up for more than two-thirds of overall economic activity in the US.

Meanwhile, personal incomes saw an unexpected fall in the month.

Incomes fell by an annualised 0.1% in September and followed a 0.4% rise in August. It was the first fall in incomes since July 2009.

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