Factory orders drop 0.9 percent in March

Orders to U.S. factories fell a larger-than-expected 0.9 percent in March, while factory shipments dropped for a record eighth consecutive month. The report was further evidence of the severity of the recession.

The Commerce Department’s reported decrease exceeded the 0.6 percent fall that economists had predicted. Shipments of manufactured products tumbled 1.2 percent, an eighth consecutive decline. It marked the longest such stretch of declines on records dating to 1992.

American manufacturers have been battered by the prolonged recession in the United States and by spreading weakness overseas that has sharply reduced their foreign sales.

Adding to the picture of weakness in March, the government report Friday sharply revised the February increase, to show a smaller 0.7 percent rise rather than the 1.8 percent gain originally reported.

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

For March, orders for durable goods dropped 0.8 percent as strength in demand for commercial jetliners and military aircraft offset weakness in other areas. Orders for nondurable goods, products such as petroleum, chemicals and paper, dropped 1 percent after a 0.2 percent fall in February.

The weakness in nondurable goods reflected declines in demand for textile goods, clothing, paper and chemicals. They were partly offset by a rise in demand for petroleum — an increase that likely reflected higher prices more than a boost in demand.

Orders to U.S. factories fell a larger-than-expected 0.9 percent in March, while factory shipments dropped for a record eighth consecutive month. The report was further evidence of the severity of the recession.

The Commerce Department’s reported decrease exceeded the 0.6 percent fall that economists had predicted. Shipments of manufactured products tumbled 1.2 percent, an eighth consecutive decline. It marked the longest such stretch of declines on records dating to 1992.

American manufacturers have been battered by the prolonged recession in the United States and by spreading weakness overseas that has sharply reduced their foreign sales.

Adding to the picture of weakness in March, the government report Friday sharply revised the February increase, to show a smaller 0.7 percent rise rather than the 1.8 percent gain originally reported.

For March, orders for durable goods dropped 0.8 percent as strength in demand for commercial jetliners and military aircraft offset weakness in other areas. Orders for nondurable goods, products such as petroleum, chemicals and paper, dropped 1 percent after a 0.2 percent fall in February.

The weakness in nondurable goods reflected declines in demand for textile goods, clothing, paper and chemicals. They were partly offset by a rise in demand for petroleum — an increase that likely reflected higher prices more than a boost in demand.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090501/ap_on_bi
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