Business Briefs – November 1, 2016

U.S. Factory Activity Picked Up in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturing expanded in the United States and China last month, good news for a sputtering global economy.

The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its manufacturing index came in at 51.9, up from 51.5 in September. Anything above 50 signals growth. Ten of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth last month.

Separately across the Pacific, private and official surveys showed Tuesday that China’s factory activity rose in October to the highest level in two years, a sign the world’s second-biggest economy may be stabilizing after years of decelerating growth.

U.S. Construction Spending Slumped in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders cut their spending on construction projects in September, the second straight monthly decline. Much of the decrease came as government spending for schools, sewers and transportation projects tumbled — part of a broader yearlong decline in infrastructure funding.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that total construction spending fell 0.7 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.15 trillion. Publicly funded construction dropped 0.9 percent to an annual rate of $270.3 billion. Over the past 12 months, government construction has slumped 7.8 percent — a decline equal to nearly $23 billion.

Freddie Mac Income $2.3b In 3Q

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported net income of $2.3 billion for the third quarter, reversing a loss in the same period of 2015.

The government-controlled company said Tuesday its fees from lenders for backing mortgages increased and the impact of interest rates moderated in the July-September period.

Freddie will pay an equivalent dividend of $2.3 billion to the U.S. Treasury next month. Freddie will have paid $101.4 billion in dividends, exceeding its government bailout of $71 billion.