welder at Taylor Machine WorksU.S. manufacturing grew faster than expected, chalking up a 13th straight month of expansion, while the overall U.S. economy has grown for 16 consecutive months.

The Institute for Supply Management factory report showed a reading of 56.3 in August, up from 55.5 in July. A reading above 50 shows manufacturing is growing. The index has averaged 56.6 over the last 12 months.

The latest figures support the view that the U.S. economy will avoid a double-dip recession, says the Wall Street Journal.

Stocks shot upward on the news. The three major U.S. indexes rose nearly 3 percent Wednesday.

Small Businesses Continue Hiring

Meanwhile, US small businesses continued to hire in August, according to the Intuit Small Business Employment Index. The August employment growth translates to approximately 26,000 new jobs nationwide, the same number of jobs added in July.

Since the growth trend first began in October 2009, small business jobs have increased by 340,000, with healthy gains made in January through April of 2010.

The employment index reflects data from approximately 57,000 small business employers who use Intuit Online Payroll.

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