ship containers stackedOrders to U.S. factories rose broadly in September, propelled by business spending on commercial airplanes, boats and machines. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that factory orders rose by 2.1 percent in September, the steepest increase since January.

Other hints that the consumer economy may be improving:

Consumer spending also rose by 1.0 percent.

The U.S. economy’s service sector, the nation’s predominant employer, grew faster in October than in the previous month and posted its 10th straight month of expansion — a surprising uptick at a time when Wall Street analysts had expected a small drop.

(READ the full AP story in NPR)

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