May U.S. Factory Orders Lower Than Expected

By John S. McClenahen New orders for manufactured goods -- not including semiconductors -- increased 0.7% in May to $321.1 billion, says the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of the Census. The May mark matches April's 0.7% increase but was just shy of the 0.8% gain that most economists expected. And for the first five months of 2002, U.S. factory orders ran 3.9% below the first five months of last year. New orders for manufactured durables -- not including semiconductors -- actually were a bit higher in May than first reported. They increased 0.9% to $173.9 billion, three-tenths of a percentage point higher than the previously reported 0.6% rise. Meanwhile, led by beverages and tobacco products, new orders for nondurable goods in May rose 0.4% to $147.2 billion. Inventories of manufactured goods, again not including semiconductors, continued to shrink for the 16th consecutive month in May. They fell 0.4% to $428.2 billion in May, following a 0.3% decrease in April.

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