Home construction rose to near a three-year high in April. And factory output has risen in three of the year's first four months.
The gains, highlighted in data released Wednesday, suggest growth in the April-June quarter is off to a good start.
Consumers are also finally seeing some relief from high gas prices. The average price of a gallon of gas was $3.72 on Thursday, according to AAA. That's 18 cents less than a month ago.
So consumers should have more money for other purchases, which could also boost second-quarter growth and help lift hiring. Consumer spending drives roughly 70 percent of economic activity in the U.S.
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