U.S. Factory Orders Edge Up In December

By Agence France-Presse U.S. factory orders for manufactured goods crawled higher in December 2002 despite a plunge in automobile orders but were still lower for the whole of 2002, government figures showed Feb. 4. Orders rose 0.4% to $320.6 billion in December from the previous month, in line with expectations, after a 0.8% decrease in November, the Commerce Department said. New factory orders for all of 2002 declined 0.8% compared with the previous year, a shallower decline than the previous year's 7.4% slump. In December, orders for durable goods eased 0.2% to $169.5 billion, dragged down by a near five-year-record 9.6% plunge in orders for motor vehicles and parts. Orders for non-durable goods rose 1.1%, or $1.6 billion, in the same period. Unfilled orders, an indication of how busy factories will be in future months, fell 0.1%. Manufacturing inventories picked up 0.5%. Factory shipments fell 0.6%. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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