A survey of manufacturers in Minnesota showed rising optimism in December after several months of contraction.
The Minnesota Business Conditions Index from Creighton University climbed to about 57 in December, up from roughly 48 in November. Readings above 50 signal economic expansion.
Delivery lead time, which points to demand for products, was the component of the Minnesota index that spiked the highest last month.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said Minnesota's manufacturers were more upbeat in December than factory owners elsewhere in the mid-America region.
"What we're seeing in Minnesota is a little bit better recovery from the downturn in housing," Goss said. "Housing is looking stronger. That's spilling over into some other industries that we're surveying, those tied to housing."
Minnesota's numbers also looked better than those registered nationally by the Institute for Supply Management. That group's index also rose in December but by a more modest amount. It hit 50.7 last month. That was up slightly from reading of 49.5 in November, which was the lowest reading since July 2009, one month after the recession ended.