WASHINGTON – U.S. factory activity expanded in October at the fastest pace in 2 ½ years, suggesting businesses kept spending last month despite the partial government shutdown.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, says its manufacturing index rose in October to 56.4. That's up from 56.2 in September. A reading above 50 indicates growth.
It was the fifth straight gain for the index. A measure of new orders rose slightly, while a gauge of production fell but remained at a high level. Factories added jobs, though at a slower pace than the previous month.