• Growth in the manufacturing sector slowed to a crawl in April as the Institute for Supply Management’s closely watched composite index – known as the PMI – dropped 0.6-point to 50.7 percent. The threshold between growth and contraction is 50 percent.
• Total construction spending during March was down 1.7 percent from February but up 4.8 percent over March 2012. Private construction spending was down 0.6 percent month to month, while public construction spending was down 4.1 percent.
• The national average retail diesel price again fell 3.6 cents to $3.851 a gallon during the week ended April 29. The average price, which is at its lowest level since August, is 22.2 cents lower than the same week last year.
• U.S. freight railroads’ carloads were down 2.6 percent for the week ended April 27 compared to the same week last year. Intermodal traffic was up 2.1 percent.
• First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell by 18,000 during the week ended April 27 to a seasonally adjusted 324,000. The four-week moving average was 342,250, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week’s average.
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