New orders to U.S. factories dropped 1.7% in Jan.


WASHINGTON -- Declines in orders for electrical machinery and transportation equipment pushed new orders for goods from U.S. factories down 1.7 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted $230.601 billion, the Commerce Department said yesterday.

The January drop was the third consecutive monthly decline.

In December, overall factory orders fell a revised 0.5 percent to $234.601 billion, the Commerce Department said. An earlier report said orders were unchanged.

New orders for transportation equipment dropped 3.9 percent in January, and orders for electrical machinery fell 12.1 percent.

Both had posted gains in December.

In the transportation sector, a 28.5 percent drop in aircraft orders more than offset an increase in motor vehicles and parts, the department said.

Excluding transportation, factory orders fell 1.4 in January, compared with a 2.3 percent decline in December, previously reported down 1.9 percent, Commerce Department officials said.

Also contributing to the factory orders decline was a 9.7 percent drop in January defense capital goods orders, which had surged a revised 51.6 percent the month before.

Excluding defense, new factory orders fell 1.4 percent in January, compared with a revised 1.7 percent fall in December, earlier reported as down 1.4 percent.

Orders for durable goods -- items expected to last more than three years -- fell a revised 1.8 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted $117.772 billion.

An advance report had projected a decline of 0.7 percent in the durable goods category.

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