WASHINGTON, Nov 24 (Reuters) – New orders for long-lasting
U.S. manufactured goods unexpectedly fell in October to post
their largest decline in nearly two years and business capital
spending plans dropped, according to a government report on
Wednesday that pointed to a slowdown in factory activity.
The Commerce Department said durable goods orders tumbled
3.3 percent, the largest decline since January 2009, after
surging by a revised 5 percent. Economists had expected orders
to be flat in October after a previously reported 3.5 percent
jump.
Excluding transportation, orders dropped 2.7 percent, the
biggest fall since March 2009, after a revised 1.3 percent
increase in September, which was previously reported as a 0.4
percent. Economists had expected orders excluding
transportation to rise 0.6 percent in October.
The drop in orders last month was almost across the board,
with hefty declines in bookings for machinery, computers,
communications equipment and defense aircraft.
Durable goods orders are a leading indicator of
manufacturing and the report suggested factory activity could
be faltering. Manufacturing has led the economy’s recovery from
the worst recession since the 1930s.

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