For November, strength was seen in housing and government spending. Nonresidential construction fell, reflecting declines in construction of office buildings and shopping centers.
US stocks jumped even higher on the news, on the first trading day of 2012. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 247 points, or 2pc, to 12,464.82, the S&P 500 rose 26.34, or 2.1pc, to 1,283.94, while the Nasdaq rose 58.8, or 2.3pc, to 2,663.95.
Surveys showing that China and India may be picking up momentum also sent stocks higher in Europe and Asia.