Business

Orders for big-ticket manufactured goods up 0.9% in November

Worker Javad Memarzadeh, of Needham, Mass., right, dusts washers in a display, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, at a Home Depot location, in Boston. Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticketed manufactured goods rose a moderate 0.9% in November  with a key category that tracks business investment plans showing a gain. The Commerce Department said Wednesday, Dec. 23 that the November gain in orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, followed stronger gains in recent months including a 3.8% rise in October.(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticketed manufactured goods rose a moderate 0.9% in November with a key category that tracks business investment plans showing a gain.

The November gain in orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, followed stronger gains in recent months including a 3.8% rise in October, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

A key category that serves as a proxy for business investment spending rose a modest 0.4% in November following much stronger gains of 3.6% in October and 3.9% in September.

Analysts are concerned that business investment could begin to fade if the resurgence of the coronavirus curtails demand.

The strength in November included a 3.4% rise in demand for motor vehicles and parts, which represented a rebound following a 2.5% drop in October.

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Overall, orders for transportation equipment rose by 1.9%. Demand for commercial aircraft fell by 2.9% as the airline industry continued to be battered by a slump in travel due to the pandemic.

Oren Klachkin, an economist at Oxford Economics, noted the slowdown in overall orders and said “factory activity is set to grind forward in a low gear in 2021.” He said this would reflect weaker spending on consumer goods and a slowing in economic momentum.

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