WASHINGTON — Orders to U.S. factories increased in July by the largest amount in nine months, propelled by a big jump in demand for commercial aircraft. The key category that tracks business investment plans posted the best increase since January.
Factory orders rose 1.9
Economists are hoping that after a period of weakness, business investment will begin to rebound in the second half of this year. Supporting that view, demand for oil field equipment rose for a third month.
The oil field and mining machinery category jumped by 45.6
Orders for durable goods, everything from airplanes to appliances, rose 4.4
American manufacturers have struggled this year with a strong dollar, which has hurt exports and a drop in investment spending, particularly in the energy sector.
While economists believe manufacturing is showing signs of stabilizing, a report Thursday by the Institute for Supply Management showed that its closely watched gauge of manufacturing activity show a contraction in manufacturing in August, the first time that has occurred since February, as new orders and output plummeted in August and factories cut jobs.
Many economists said they believed that was a temporary setback and they are still looking for a manufacturing rebound in the second half of this year.
Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press