March 5, 2009

Factory orders dropped in January

New orders for manufactured U.S. goods fell for the sixth consecutive month in January, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday.

New orders fell 1.9 percent, continuing the longest streak of decreases since 1992 but breaking from the sharp decline in December, when new orders fell 4.9 percent.

New orders in January fell by $6.9 billion to $351 billion with a 4.5 percent drop in durable goods orders, similar to December's durable goods decline of 4.6 percent.

Non-durable goods orders rose in the month, up 0.5 percent to $187 billion.

Factory shipments for durable goods, also down for six months, fell 4 percent to $182.4 billion, following a decline of 1.5 percent in December. Non-durable goods shipments picked up after five months of declines, rising 0.5 percent to $187 billion.

Non-durable goods shipments were pushed by a 9.4 percent increase in shipments of petroleum and coal products, the report said.

Durable goods inventories decreased 0.8 percent to $340.7 billion during the month, indicating factories had slowed production to match the current economy. Non-durable goods inventories also decreased by 0.8 percent, falling to $196.9 billion, the report said.