New Orders For Durables Rise 3.4%

By John S. McClenahen Greatly exceeding economists' expectations for a less than 1% month-to-month increase, new orders for manufactured durable goods -- so-called big ticket products designed to last at least three years -- rose 3.4% in March, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on April 23. Durables soared 3.8% in February. The increase was broadly based, with primary metals; fabricated metal products; machinery; computers and electronic products; electrical equipment, appliances and components; and transportation equipment all posting higher levels of new orders in March than they did in February. "The last two months of orders data show that the manufacturing recovery, which really began to pick up steam in the fourth quarter of last year is accelerating," says Jerry J. Jasinowski, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, D.C.

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