Manufacturing expands for second straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing expanded for the second straight month in October, boosted by growth in new orders and production.

The Institute for Supply Management said Thursday that its index of factory activity rose last month to 51.7, up from September’s reading of 51.5. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers. Previous surveys showed manufacturing contracted from June through August.

The figure is slightly below the average for the year of 52.2. Other reports have suggested that manufacturing is slowing, hampered by less business investment and fewer exports. But the ISM survey points to continued, if gradual, expansion, driven by increased consumer spending.

The report is the final look at U.S. manufacturing conditions before Tuesday’s presidential election. The race has been heavily focused on the economy.

Stocks jumped after the release of the October report, along with another report that showed consumer confidence surged last month to the highest level in nearly five years. The Dow Jones industrial average, which had already risen about 70 points after the opening bell, was up 139 points in morning trading.

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