Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Durable Goods Orders Decline 1.1 Percent

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Durable Goods Orders Decline 1.1 Percent

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) - Orders to U.S. factories for big ticket durable goods, continuing their seesaw pattern, fell 1.1 percent in September, the government reported Wednesday.

The Commerce Department attributed the decline to a huge drop in demand for military equipment. But private analysts noted that demand in the U.S. manufacturing sector has been weak all year.

Orders for durable goods, items expected to last three or more years, totaled $106.1 billion last month, a $1.2 billion decline from the August level.

Orders have been erratic for the past four months with large gains in one month erased by big declines the following month. After soaring by 3.7 percent in June, orders fell 2.3 percent in July, rose 2.8 percent in August only to drop again in September.

""This choppiness is characteristic of the third year of a recovery,'' said Donald Straszheim, chief economist at Merrill Lynch. ""It just confirms the choppy, uneven growth we are anticipating.''

Straszheim predicted that growth in the final three months of 1985 would dip to a weak 2 percent rate compared to the 3.3 percent growth rate turned in during the July-September quarter.

The Reagan administration, however, is looking for the economy to continue picking up steam following a sluggish start. The economy's sluggishness this year has been blamed on a disastrous trading performance which has seen domestic manufacturers lose sales to a flood of imports.

While orders for durable goods grew by 14.8 percent last year, that increase slowed to 6.4 percent during the first nine months of the year, the Commerce Department said.

Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige, noting that orders in the past three months were still 2.7 percent higher than the second quarter level, predicted that the current ""pickup in activity will continue. …

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