The pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing tapered off slightly in November, though the sector still posted its 16th consecutive month of expansion, according to an industry report released on Wednesday.
The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity slipped to 56.6 last month from 56.9 in October, The median forecast of 66 economists surveyed by Reuters was for a reading of 56.5.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion. The sector has grown every month since August, 2009.
But U.S. construction spending posted a surprisingly robust 0.7 percent gain in October, matching the prior month's rise as investment in both public and private projects increased, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.
October's gain, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $802.32 billion, was sharply contrary to expectations of economists surveyed by Reuters, who had predicted a 0.4 percent decline in spending.
Spending on private construction projects rose 0.8 percent to a $481.78 billion rate, double September's 0.4 percent increase, and included a 2.5 percent increase in spending on new-home building.
Public construction spending gained 0.4 percent in October to $320.54 billion a year after a 1.2 percent rise in September - the strongest annual rate for public construction spending since July 2009.
Meanwhile, U.S. non-farm productivity grew faster than previously estimated in the third quarter as employers squeezed more output from workers and kept costs contained, a government report showed on Wednesday.
Productivity increased at an annual rate of 2.3 percent rather than the 1.9 percent pace reported last month, the Labor Department said, after contracting 1.8 percent in the second quarter.
The upward revision to third-quarter productivity, a measure of hourly output per worker that is viewed as an indicator of the economy's vitality or lack of it, matched economists' expectations.
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