January 6, 2009

Factory orders drop in month

New orders for manufactured U.S. goods fell for the fourth consecutive month in November, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

New orders dropped 4.6 percent, or $18.7 billion, to $384.6 billion, the government said.

Durable goods orders, also down for four months, fell 1.5 percent to $185.7 billion, while nondurable good orders fell 7.4 percent to $198.9 billion.

Factory shipments for durable goods, products designed to last three years or more, fell 3.1 percent to $194.9 billion, following a 3.4 percent decrease in October.

Nondurable goods shipments declined 7.4 percent, the largest percent decrease since 1992, the report said.

Decreased shipments of petroleum and coal led the declines, dropping 21 percent in the month to $37.1 billion.

With less goods shipped out, inventories climbed, indicating a backlog of unsold goods. Durable goods inventories climbed 0.4 percent to $342.7 billion, although nondurable goods inventories fell for the third consecutive month, down 1.4 percent to $210.8 billion.