The U.S. has benefited from 126 petrochemical projects and investments of $84.4 billion through August from chemical companies seeking to capitalize on shale natural gas, according to the American Chemistry Council. Foreign direct investment makes up 54% of that total, and almost all of the projects are slated to be operational by 2018, according to the report. Last month on the manufacturing side, "production rose for the tenth successive month, with the rate of growth accelerating to the highest since January," the ACC report states.

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