auto center - King Richards RIAuto sales defied a downcast economy in September, climbing 9.9 percent to their highest level in five months as new models arrived at dealerships and inventory shortages eased.

All three of the Detroit automakers reported gains, led by a 27.2 percent year-over-year increase for Chrysler.

Auto executives and analysts said shoppers had not been dissuaded by a declining stock market, bleak consumer confidence surveys, a sluggish housing market or high unemployment.

In other good news for a sluggish economy: The manufacturing sector “expanded in September for the 26th consecutive month,” reports NPR.

NPR also posted the news that the Census Bureau said construction spending rose 1.4 percent in August over July.

(READ the auto story in the New York Times)

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