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US factory orders up 1.4 per cent in September

In this Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, photo, workers assemble Ford trucks at the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Ky. On Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, the Commerce Department reports on U.S. factory orders for September. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
November 03, 2017 - 7:22 AM

WASHINGTON - Orders to U.S. factories rose 1.4 per cent in September, the strongest gain in four months. A key category that tracks business investment plans jumped by the largest amount in more than a year.

The September gain followed a 1.2 per cent advance in August, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Last month's increase was paced by a 30.8 per cent jump in demand for commercial aircraft, which swings widely from month to month.

The category that serves as a proxy for business investment plans rose 1.7 per cent in August, the best showing since a 2.7 per cent surge in July 2016.

Economists believe manufacturing is on a sustained rebound that will provide support for the overall economy after a prolonged stretch of weakness.

Demand for durable goods, long-lasting items ranging from bicycles to battleships, rose 2 per cent in September. That was a slightly smaller gain than the 2.2 per cent estimate the government reported last week.

Orders for nondurable goods, items not expected to last three years, rose 0.8 per cent last month, up from a 0.4 per cent increase in August. The gain was led by a rise in petroleum products, a category where the gain in orders likely reflected in large part a rise in energy prices during the month.

The overall economy grew at a 3 per cent rate in the July-September quarter following a 3.1 per cent GDP rise in the second quarter. It marked the first consecutive quarterly gains of 3 per cent or better in three years.

For September, orders for mining and oil field machinery shot up by 17.8 per cent. This sector has been posting strong gains after a prolonged period of weakness as energy companies cut back sharply on exploration after petroleum prices plunged.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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