Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Durable Goods Orders Surge to Record High

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Durable Goods Orders Surge to Record High

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Orders to factories for durable goods hit a record high in October, fresh evidence of modest improvement for U.S. manufacturing. The government also reported better-than-expected news on jobs.

Paced by increases for transportation orders, primarily aircraft and automobiles, overall orders jumped 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted $135.8 billion, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That broke the record of $134.8 billion set in December 1988 and marked the third straight monthly gain, the first time that has happened in a year.

Orders rose 1.1 percent in September, according to revised figures, even stronger than the department's 0.7 percent initial estimate. They were up 2.5 percent in August.

The broad October gain "shows the manufacturing sector is doing better than it was a few months ago," said Daryl Delano of Cahners Economics in Newton, Mass. "Even jobs are starting to look marginally better."

The industrial sector had declined through much of the first half of the year. But with the recent advances, orders during the first 10 months were 9.1 percent above the same period a year ago.

Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown said the latest report "is evidence that the turnaround triggered by lower interest rates is now spreading through the manufacturing sector of the economy."

The Labor Department, meanwhile, said the number of newly laid-off workers filing first-time applications for unemployment insurance rose 1,000 last week, to 339,000.

That was far fewer than the 7,000 that many analysts had expected, since the previous reporting period included the Veterans Day holiday and thus fewer days in which to file.

The four-week moving average of jobless claims dropped by 2,250 to 343,250. Many analysts prefer to track the four-week average because it smooths out the often volatile weekly figures. …

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