The latest round of economic data continued to depict an economy lurching toward resurrection, with a robust growth in the real estate sector and a less-impressive industrial expansion.
The Institute of Supply Management's index of activity came in at 53.9 in January, consistent with what economists were forecasting but below December's 55.2. Anything over 50 indicates expansion. The closely watched new-order growth index came in at 59.7, down from 62.9, while the index of inventories and the index of backlogs fell.
Another report said construction spending rose 1.2% in December to an annualized rate of $858.3 billion, led by residential building. It's the largest monthly gain since February 2002 and follows an upwardly revised gain of 0.9% in November.
Construction spending is an appreciable portion of overall gross domestic product, so Monday's reading could bode well for that measure of growth in the first quarter. Last week the government said GDP rose at a lackluster 0.7% in the fourth quarter.