Keeping Track: manufacturing

Consecutive upticks point toward US recovery

Indicators that point to an economy in recovery (and perhaps never quite in recession) pile up. Housing starts (new construction) have exceeded many economists' expectations. Last week brought a good sign for manufacturing: Orders for durable goods - big-ticket items expected to last two or more years - are up.

January's 2.6 percent uptick from December was larger than expected. Transportation-related orders, particularly for aircraft and parts, led the rise, but even excluding the transportation sector, durable-goods orders rose 1.3 percent for the month - the fourth consecutive monthly rise.

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