Summary Box: Sluggish economy slows factories

MANUFACTURING SLOWS: U.S. manufacturing grew more slowly in October, held back by weaker demand for exports and slower production. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index dipped from 51.6 to 50.8. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

POSITIVE SIGNS: Companies ordered more goods, factories slashed stockpiles and auto sales rose last month, trends that suggest manufacturing activity could rebound. And construction spending rose slightly in September, although total spending is still well below a healthy annual pace.

GROWTH SLOW: Tuesday's reports indicate the economy is growing enough to avoid another recession, but not by enough to lower the unemployment rate.