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U.S. Factories See Orders Bounce Back
Apr 1, 2004
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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" goods—costly manufactured products, including automobiles, household appliances and computers—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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