U.S. factories saw orders bounce back a bit in February 2004, a sign that manufacturing is continuing to emerge from a three-year slump, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
The U.S. government entity reported that orders placed with factories increased by a modest 0.3 percent in February 2004, compared with a drop of 0.9 percent in January 2004.
Although the February 2004 rebound wasn't as strong as the 1.5-percent increase economists were forecasting, it was still encouraging that factory orders managed to recover some ground last month.
Demand for "durable" goodsâ€”costly manufactured products, including automobiles, household appliances and computersâ€”rose by 2.5 percent in February 2004. That was an improvement from the 2.6 -percent decline registered in January 2004 and marked the biggest increase since October 2003.
But "nondurable" goods, such as food and clothing, fell by 2 percent in February 2004, compared with a 1.2-percent increase in January 2004. The weakness in nondurables in February 2004 was broadbased, restraining overall factory orders for the month. (Associated Press)
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