The Dept. of Commerce reported today that U.S. factory orders climbed 1.2% in April—marking the biggest such increase in six months and the fifth monthly increase in a row.
Commerce said more demand for big-ticket consumer items, including cars, computers and household appliances, as well as machinery helped push up orders to factories.
And a report issued today by the Dept. of Labor stated that another key indicator of economic health—productivity—grew at an annual rate of 8.4% in this year’s first quarter. That’s the highest productivity gain in nearly 20 years.
Taken together, the fresh data paints a picture of the U.S. economy as on the rebound, including the manufacturing segment that was especially hard hit by the recession.