FILE – In this Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, file photo, employees at Sheffield Platers Inc. work on the factory floor in San Diego. The Institute for Supply Management issues its U.S. manufacturing index for December on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Expectations are rising for a stronger U.S. economy in 2014 after reports Thursday showed solid growth in manufacturing and construction spending at the end of last year.
Factory activity in December stayed near a 2 ½ -year high. Americans are buying more cars and homes, increasing demand for steel, furniture and other manufactured goods. Manufacturers have boosted hiring to meet that demand and may add jobs at a healthier pace this year.
And builders stepped up spending on home construction in November, despite recent increases in borrowing rates. That suggests many remain confident in the housing recovery.
The economy has had bursts of healthy growth since the recession ended in June 2009, only to be followed by disappointing slowdowns. But many analysts think growth is now more sustainable.
“There was strength in some important Login to read more