Manufacturing Activity Rises in November

U.S. manufacturing activity’s rate of expansion rose in November, the Institute for Supply Management reported Dec. 2. ISM’s monthly factory index increased to a 57.3 reading, from 56.4 in October, the group said in its monthly report. The ISM index has increased six straight months, the longest stretch since the first 10 months of 2009, Bloomberg News reported. Figures of more than 50 indicate expansion, and figures below that level show contraction. The index topped economists’ median forecast of a 55.1 reading, Bloomberg reported. “Things are becoming a little more constructive,” Millan Mulraine, director of U.S. rates research at TD Securities USA, told Bloomberg. “If I’m a business, and I see consumer spending climbing even in the face of all these headwinds, then when the economy turns around, which we’ll probably see as we move into next year, then I’m going to pick up capital spending,” Mulraine said. ISM’s factory index measures manufacturing components of the economy. By Transport Topics

Holiday Retail Sales Rise 2.3%

U.S. retail sales increased 2.3% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, matching predictions of the weakest holiday sales since 2009, Bloomberg News reported. Sales at stores rose to $12.3 billion during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a report from the research group ShopperTrak. The company reiterated sales during the holiday season will rise only 2.4%, the smallest gain since the recession, according to Bloomberg. The number of people who shopped at stores and websites from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday increased 1.4%, according to the National Retail Federation. The average consumer spent $407.02. Online sales for the first 29 days of the holiday season rose 3.1% from last year to $20.6 billion, according to ComScore Inc. Sales in November and December account for 20% to 40% of retailers’ annual revenue, according to NRF. By Transport Topics

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