US Factories Get Busier

Posted December 1st, 2011 at 1:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Data published Thursday paints a mixed picture of the U.S. economy, with factory activity growing, while jobless claims got a little worse.

An industry group says its index of manufacturing showed the sector expanded at the fastest rate in five months. The factory sector was the first to recover after the recent recession and has been a bright spot in the U.S. economy.

However, other new data show the number of people signing up for unemployment compensation rose slightly last week, a sign that the labor market remains troubled.

The Labor Department says new jobless claims rose 6,000 to a nationwide total of 402,000.

On Friday, government experts will publish the latest overall unemployment data, which is expected to show that the unemployment rate stayed at 9 percent.

Economists surveyed by news agencies also predict that the economy will have a net gain of 150,000 jobs in November. That number of jobs will probably not change the unemployment rate because it is just a little higher than what is needed to accommodate new entrants to the work force.