Thanks to broad-based demand, US manufacturing recorded in April its largest gain in six months, reports the US Commerce Department.

The April numbers show orders rising 1.2% to $323.87 billion (€347.91bn; £222.46bn). According to a survey by Thomson Global Markets, this is substantially better than economists’ consensus expectation of 0.7%. And to underscore the rising trend, the department upgraded its data for March to a revised increase of 1% instead of the 0.4% reported earlier.

It’s not only manufacturing where the bulls are running. Consumer sentiment is also in the ascendant, with the influential University of Michigan index moving up to 96.9 in May, a rise of 3.9 points – while its consumer-expectations index rose from 89.1 to 92.7. The University made it three in a row with its current conditions index which registered 103.5 compared to 99.2 in April.

The only small cloud on the horizon came from the Labor Department whose Q1 productivity indicator was revised marginally downward from 8.6% to 8.4%.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff