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Economic Watch: Factory Shipments, Orders Fall

March 6, 2014

By Evan Lockridge

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New orders and shipments of factory-made goods in the U.S. both declined in January, according to new Commerce Department figures.

New orders fell 0.7% from the month before, following a December drop of 2%, larger than first reported. Excluding transportation, new orders in January increased 0.2%.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in January fell 1% following a 5.3% drop in December. A 5.7% decline in new transportation orders drove the decline.

The bright spot is there was a 1.5% jump in new orders for core capital goods, which excludes those for transportation. Also a report earlier in the week indicates the nation’s manufacturing sector in February has rebounded from an eight-month low.

Overall factory shipments fell 0.3% following a decline of the same level in December, while shipments of manufactured durable good in January also fell 0.3%, following a 1.7% falloff in December.

A separate report from the Labor Department shows U.S. business productivity in the final quarter of last year wasn’t as strong as first thought.

It grew at an annual rate of 1.8% compared to the first reported 3.2% gain and far off the pace of 3.5% in the third quarter of 2013. For all of last year productivity increased just 0.5%, a weak trend over the past three years.

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