Machine-tool demand in the U.S. and Europe regained sustained strength in the first half of 2017, but a wider outlook suggests global industrial demand is still searching for stability.
Mid-market manufacturing firms in a survey last month reported revenue growth of 7.1% on average, compared to 6.7% for manufacturers as a whole.
The upward revision to consumption reflects spending on wireless-phone services, used cars and electricity and natural gas.
International markets remain in a state of uncertainty due to the continued ambiguity surrounding expected policy alterations from the U.S., especially regarding NAFTA.
The pickup in core capital goods shipments and orders, along with an upwardly revised gain in June sales, suggests the equipment numbers that feed into GDP calculations were improving at the start of the second half of the year.
Automobile production fell 3.6% in July, the fourth decline in the last five months.
Curbs on property, excess borrowing and industrial overcapacity have begun to show in hard data.
Paltry productivity has been a disappointing characteristic of the current economic expansion.
Optimism about the economy is enduring among American businesses even as prospects dissipate for swift changes on tax and infrastructure policy from Washington lawmakers.