Summary Box: Strong data signals more hiring

AP News
Posted: Mar 17, 2011 4:43 PM

FACTORIES BUSIER: Manufacturing output rose for the sixth straight month in February, while a separate report showed that the four-week average of applications for unemployment benefits fell to a nearly three-year low. That's a sign layoffs are declining.

MORE JOBS COMING: The reports suggest employers could add as many as 200,000 jobs this month, economists said, the second straight month of strong hiring gains.

HIGHER PRICES: One area of concern: a third report showed higher gas and food costs pushed up consumer prices last month by the most since June 2009. That could reduce consumer spending in the coming months.