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

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.

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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