New orders for US manufactured goods fell for the first time in four months in October under pressure from weak demand for durable goods, the government said on Dec. 3.
Factory orders dropped 0.9% from September, while orders for durable goods -- big-ticket items such as aircraft, cars and computers -- tumbled 3.4%, the Commerce Department said.
The report was better than expected, with most analysts forecasting orders fell 1.3%.
Excluding the transportation sector, which can be volatile, factory orders slipped only 0.2% in October.
Transportation equipment, such as cars, trucks and airplanes, plunged 5.2%, leading the decline in durables.
Orders for non-durable goods such as food, clothing and energy products edged up 1.5%, from 1.4 percent in the prior month.
Manufacturing, a key driver of the economy's struggling recovery from recession, has shown recent signs of fatigue. In a report Wednesday, the Institute of Supply Management said the manufacturing sector expanded for a 16th consecutive month in November but at a slightly slower pace than in October. The ISM's purchasing managers index stood at 56.6% in November, the second-fastest rate of growth in the last six months, but down from 56.9% in October.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010