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U.S. factory orders increased to their best in 7 months

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Staff writer ▼ | March 3, 2016
Orders to U.S. factories increased in January by the most in seven months. A key category that tracks business investment plans rose by the largest amount in 19 months.
U.S. factory orders
Industry   The Commerce Department reported:
Factory orders rose 1.6 percent in January after two months of declines, the Commerce Department reported. It was the biggest jump since June, though it was driven by demand in the volatile category of commercial aircraft. Orders in a core sector that reflects business investment rose 3.4 percent — the sharpest one-month gain since June 2014.

Demand for durable goods increased 4.7 percent in January, slightly lower than the 4.9 percent the government had estimated in a preliminary report last week.

Orders for nondurable goods, including chemicals, paper and clothing, fell 1.4 percent in January after a 1.1 percent drop in December. This category has posted a string of declines in part because of the big drop in energy prices. The data is not adjusted for price changes.

Orders for commercial aircraft jumped 54.4 percent, with smaller gains for military aircraft and autos and auto parts.

And orders for machinery increased 4.6 percent. This category was led by a surge in demand for mining, oil and gas equipment, an area that has been weak because of the cutbacks that energy companies are making in response to falling energy prices.