Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Durable Goods Orders Higher

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Durable Goods Orders Higher

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) - Orders for big-ticket durable goods climbed a sharp 4.2 percent in December, the government reported Friday, but analysts said the increase did not signal a revival for America's hard-pressed manufacturing sector.

Economists dismissed the gain, the biggest in more than a year, because it came entirely from a sharp rise in orders for airplanes, a volatile component that fluctuates from month to month.

The Commerce Department report put total orders for durable goods, items expected to last three or more years, such as automobiles, appliances and military hardware, at $108.2 billion in December, $4.4 billion above the November level.

It marked the first increase since August and the biggest rise since an 8.2 percent advance in November 1984. Orders had fallen 0.9 percent in September, 2 percent in October and 0.7 percent in November.

For all of 1985, orders rose just 3.8 percent, the smallest increase since 1982, a recession year, when orders dropped by 10.2 percent. Last year's performance was far below a 14.8 percent rise in orders in 1984.

U.S. manufacturers were battered last year by stiff foreign competition as the strong value of the dollar made cheap foreign goods attractive to Americans while reducing the demand for domestic products overseas.

The Reagan administration said the big rise in December orders was further evidence that the economy picked up strength last month.

Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige said it ""adds to the evidence of strengthening economic activity at year-end'' and he predicted further gains resulting from lower interest rates and declines in the value of the dollar against major foreign currencies.

However, private economists noted that without a 24. …

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