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Factory orders rise again; Rivlin says economy is outpacing forecasts


WASHINGTON -- U.S. factory orders rose in November, the fifth increase in six months, as domestic demand offset weak exports, Commerce Department figures yesterday showed.

Orders placed with U.S. manufacturers rose 0.6 percent, led by metals, electronic instruments, and chemicals. Declines were seen in textiles, electronic parts, and lighting and wiring equipment. Orders fell 1.7 percent in October.

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alice Rivlin suggested that the economy is performing better than policy-makers had forecast. "We all expect that the economy will be slower this year than last year, but we've been expecting a slowdown for some time," she said.

"The current statistics have been coming in very strong except for manufacturing."

Factory orders are heavily influenced by purchases of commercial aircraft and defense hardware, which can fluctuate from month to month. Therefore, it's difficult to discern trends from month-to-month shifts.

Excluding transportation equipment and military hardware, factory orders rose 0.7 percent during November.

Factory shipments rose 0.4 percent in November after falling 0.1 percent in October.

Pub Date: 1/08/99

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