Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

Series of U.S. economic reports bring mostly positive news

Other surveys bring mostly positive news

A series of economic reports released Wednesday carried mostly positive news — about regional growth, productivity, the service sector, to name a few areas — though a private employment report was disappointing. Here's a summary:

Economic growth: A Federal Reserve Beige Book survey says economic growth increased throughout the United States from April through late-May, fueled by home construction, consumer spending and steady hiring. Eleven of the Fed's banking districts reported "modest to moderate" economic growth, according to the Beige Book survey released Wednesday. The 12th, in Dallas, reported strong growth.

Worker productivity: U.S. worker productivity grew a modest amount in the first quarter after having declined in 2012's fourth quarter. Productivity rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.5 percent in the first quarter, following a 1.7 percent decline in the October to December period, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

Service growth: U.S. service firms grew at a faster pace in May, driven by a jump in new orders. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of service-sector growth rose to 53.7 from 53.1 in April. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. Last month's figure is below the 12-month average of 54.4.

Factory orders: Orders to U.S. factories rose modestly in April as manufacturers rebounded from a weak March performance. Factory orders rose 1 percent in April compared with March, when orders had dropped a sharp 4.7 percent, the Commerce Department said. The big swing reflected volatility in commercial aircraft orders, which were down sharply in March but surged 53.3 percent in April.

Job gains: A private survey shows U.S. businesses added just 135,000 jobs in May, the second straight month of weak gains. Payroll provider ADP said May's gain was above April's revised total of 113,000. But it's much lower than the gains ADP reported over the winter, which averaged more than 200,000 a month from November through February.

Associated Press

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