Auto plant - GM photoU.S. factories revved up production, hired more workers and received a surge of new orders in July, helping them expand at the fastest pace in two years.

The gains could provide the spark needed to accelerate economic growth.

Meanwhile, British manufacturing grew in July at its fastest rate in well over two years — its fourth straight month of expansion. The reading was the strongest since March 2011, according to Reuters.

(READ the AP story in the Washington Post or the Kansas City Star)

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