The American consumer could be coming to the rescue of the nation’s beleaguered factory sector.
A key gauge of manufacturing activity rose last month to its best reading since September, despite global headwinds that are weighing on exports and keeping inflation in check. The gains reflected solid demand from domestic consumers who once again are proving to be resilient in the face of overseas uncertainty.
The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its gauge of manufacturing activity rose last month to 49.5 from 48.2 in January. While a reading below 50 indicates the factory sector is contracting, the pace of the decline was less severe than it had been in recent months.
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