U.S. Factory Orders Set 15-Month Record
Dec 9, 2003
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New orders for goods from U.S. factories surged at a 15-month record pace in October, seasonally adjusted data show, as the resurgent economy ramped up demand.

Orders leapt 2.2 percent to 341.2 billion dollars, the steepest rise since July last year. The increase, which followed growth of 1.4 percent in September, was in line with Wall Street analysts' forecasts.

Accelerating industrial activity has boosted hopes for an increase in jobs to meet the rising demand, but so far the employment gains have been modest, tempered by huge strides in productivity.

Orders for durable goods -- big-ticket items such as cars and washing machines -- increased 3.4 percent in October, the latest Commerce Department report showed.

Transportation orders drove 5.5 percent higher, with a 22.1-percent jump in civilian aircraft orders, a 6.3-percent leap in military plane orders and a 0.1-percent increase in automobile related orders.

Computers and electronic products orders advanced 3.9 percent.

A key barometer of future business investment --orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft -- rose 1.8 percent. (AFP)

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