Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Orders to Factories Fell 2.8% in January

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Orders to Factories Fell 2.8% in January

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) - Orders to U.S. factories for ``big ticket'' durable goods fell 2.8 percent in January, the biggest decline in a year, reflecting sharp drops in demand for aircraft and primary metals, the government reported Tuesday.

The Commerce Department said that orders for durable goods fell to a seasonally adjusted $112.23 billion last month, a drop of $3.28 billion from December.

The steep decline, only the third setback in the past 13 months, followed a big December advance of 4.1 percent, the strongest rise since March.

Analysts said the January setback reflected a return to more normal levels of demand in both aircraft and primary metals, two categories which had seen unusually big advances in December.

Both the Reagan administration and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan noted that the overall decline also masked pockets of strength, particularly in non-defense capital goods.

``The numbers that were released on durable goods, if one subtracts some of the temporary fluctuations, were really quite strong,'' Greenspan said during an appearance before the House Banking Committee.

Many economists are predicting that growth will slow in the first half of 1988 because of an unusually high buildup of unsold inventories which occurred at the end of 1987. But Greenspan said he did not think this slowdown would deteriorate into a recession, in part because of the strength being shown in manufacturing.

``While we envisage sluggish growth for the period immediately ahead, there just are very few signs that we're about to tilt over'' into a recession, Greenspan said.

At the White House, presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said that the administration continues to believe that the trend in manufacturing ``is still healthy. …

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