It may be old news -- superseded by last week's Institute for Supply Management report showing manufacturing new orders accelerating in February -- but the U.S. Commerce Department reported Mar. 6 new orders for manufactured goods decreased 4.5% in January. A decline, following three consecutive monthly increases, was expected. But at 4.5%, the decline was a full percentage point less than 5.5% decline economists generally expected.
New orders for manufactured durables, generally large-ticket items designed to last at least three years, fell 9.9% to $207.8 billion in January. Orders for durables had risen in each of the three previous months. New orders for nondurable manufactured goods increased 2.2% to $190.5 billion in January, but that increase was more than offset by the decrease in orders for durables.