US Factory Orders Up 0.8 Percent in October
WASHINGTON - Orders to U.S. factories rose modestly in October, helped by a big gain in demand for equipment that reflects business investment plans.
Factory orders edged up 0.8 percent in October, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That compared to September when orders had jumped 4.5 percent.
Orders for core capital goods, a category viewed as a good proxy for business investment plans, increased 2.9 percent in October, the biggest increase in eight months. That represented an upward revision from an initial estimate of 1.7 percent. The increase came after big declines in the investment category this summer.
Orders for durable goods rose 0.5 percent in October, up from a preliminary estimate of no gain, while orders for nondurable goods, items such as chemicals and paper, were up 1.1 percent.
Businesses have been holding back on investment plans because they are worried about the "fiscal cliff." That’s the name for sharp tax increases and federal spending cuts that will take effect in January if Congress and the Obama administration do not reach a budget deal by then to avert them.
There is also more caution because of slower growth overseas and Europe’s debt crisis. Those developments have cut into U.S. exports and corporate profits.