Factory Orders Exceed Expectations

By John S. McClenahen Before they apparently slowed in April, U.S. factory orders in March were on a bit of a tear. New orders for manufactured goods increased 4.3% in March to $360.7 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported May 4. Economists generally were looking for a 2.3% increase. New orders for such durable goods as autos, appliances and computers were even stronger than Commerce first estimated. They rose 5% in March to $195.8 billion. Meanwhile, new orders for chemicals, paper products and other nondurable goods increased 3.5% to $165 billion.

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