U.S. economy: Manufacturing, confidence increase
Measures of U.S. manufacturing and consumer confidence last month unexpectedly jumped to their highest levels since the credit crisis intensified in September, indicating the economy is on the mend.
The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 40.1 from 36.3 in March; readings less than 50 signal a contraction. The Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment jumped by the most in more than two years, climbing to 65.1.
The figures may be the clearest signal yet that Federal Reserve and Obama administration efforts to lower borrowing costs and unclog lending are starting to pay off. The worst economic slump in at least half a century is still likely to persist for months as companies from Caterpillar Inc. to Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. continue to cut back, according to a May 1 Bloomberg report.