WASHINGTON – U.S. manufacturing grew last month at the fastest pace since July, a sign that American factories are coping with economic weakness overseas and a strong dollar.
The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index came in at 51.9 up from 51.5 in August. Anything above 50 signals growth. Production and export orders grew faster in October. A measure of factory employment rose last month after falling for three straight months.
Factories have now expanded seven of the last eight months, suggesting they've overcome the weight of a strong dollar that makes their products costlier in foreign markets.
Overall, the U.S. economy has picked up speed: The Commerce Department reported last week that the economy grew at a 2.9 percent annual clip from July through September, fastest in two years.