U.S. factory orders increase strongly in November

U.S. factory orders increase strongly in November

New orders for U.S.-manufactured goods accelerated in November, but business spending on equipment likely struggled to rebound in the fourth quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that factory orders rose 1.6% in November. Data for October was revised higher to show orders rising 1.2% instead of 1.0% as previously reported.

Economists poll had forecast factory orders advancing 1.5%. Orders increased 12.9% on a year-on-year basis.

Manufacturing, which accounts for 11.9% of the economy, is being supported by businesses replenishing depleted inventories.

There were increases in orders for computers and electronic products as well as transportation equipment. But orders for machinery fell as did those for electrical equipment, appliances and components.

There are tentative signs that raw material and labor shortages are starting to abate. An Institute for Supply Management survey on Tuesday showed its measure of prices paid for inputs by factories fell by the most in a decade in December.

Shipments of manufactured goods increased 0.7% in November after surging 2.0% in October. Inventories at factories rose 0.7%. Unfilled orders increased 0.7% after gaining 0.3% in the prior month.

The Commerce Department also reported that orders for non-defense capital goods, excluding aircraft, which are seen as a measure of business spending plans on equipment, were unchanged changed in November instead of falling 0.1% as reported last month.

Shipments of these so-called core capital goods, which are used to calculate business equipment spending in the gross domestic product report, rose 0.3% in November as previously reported.

Business spending on equipment contracted in the third quarter after four straight quarters of double-digit growth.