U.S. factory activity grows, but at slowest pace since June

U.S. factory activity grew at the slowest pace in six months in December, weakened by declines in orders and production. Yet growth was still healthy, a sign manufacturing may help drive the economy’s expansion in 2015 as it did last year.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Friday that its manufacturing index fell to 55.5 in December from 58.7 in November. Any reading above 50 signals expansion. November’s figure was just below a three-year high reached in October.

Construction spending slips 0.3 percent in November

A sharp slowdown in government-built schools and infrastructure caused U.S. construction spending to fall slightly in November. The Commerce Department said Friday that construction spending slipped 0.3 percent in November, after having climbed an upwardly revised 1.2 percent in October and 0.6 percent in September.

Much of the drop came from a 1.7 percent retreat in government expenditures. School spending fell 2.5 percent, while the transportation, health care and public safety sectors also fell.

— From news service reports