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updated 12/1/2010 10:19:38 AM ET 2010-12-01T15:19:38

U.S. factory output grew for the 16th straight month in November, though at a slightly slower pace than the previous month.

The Institute for Supply Management says its index of manufacturing activity dropped to 56.6 in November, down from 56.9 in October. Any reading over 50 indicates growth. Wall Street analysts expected a steeper drop.

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Manufacturing has been one of the strongest sectors of the economy since the recession ended.

New orders and production also grew at a slower pace. Exports are benefiting from a cheaper dollar. The export index grew, but not as quickly as in October, the ISM said.

Separately, manufacturing also picked up in China last month. A survey affiliated with the government said its measure rose to 55.2 in November from 54.7 in October.

Another report showed construction spending edged up in October for a second straight month as residential building gained. The Commerce Department said spending rose 0.7 percent.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


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