Manufacturing expanded at a faster pace than projected in February, showing the U.S. economy is making headway in emerging from the harsh winter weather that has slowed growth in early 2014.
The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index rose to 53.2 from 51.3 in January, the Tempe, Arizona-based group reported today. Readings above 50 signal expansion. Other figures showed consumer spending climbed more than projected in January as home-heating bills jumped and households began enrolling in the Obama administration’s health-care program.
The pickup in manufacturing would have been stronger if not for a slump in production caused by a shortage of parts, a sign orders will improve in coming months to replenish stockpiles. While households spent more on services such as utilities and health care in January, they cut back on goods, including autos, gasoline and clothing, underscoring the importance of bigger job and income gains needed to spur the biggest part of the economy.