published Thursday paints a mixed picture of the U.S. economy, with
factory activity growing, while jobless claims got a little worse.
An industry group says its index of manufacturing showed the sector
expanded at the fastest rate in five months. The factory sector was the
first to recover after the recent recession and has been a bright spot
in the U.S. economy.
However, other new data show the number of people signing up for
unemployment compensation rose slightly last week, a sign that the labor
market remains troubled.
The Labor Department says new jobless claims rose 6,000 to a nationwide
total of 402,000.
On Friday, government experts will publish the latest overall
unemployment data, which is expected to show that the unemployment rate
stayed at 9 percent.
Economists surveyed by news agencies also predict that the economy will
have a net gain of 150,000 jobs in November. That number of jobs will
probably not change the unemployment rate because it is just a little
higher than what is needed to accommodate new entrants to the work