Factory Orders Slip on Weak Demand for Aircraft

Factory Orders
LM Otero/AP

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON -- New orders for U.S. factory goods fell in October as demand for aircraft and capital goods weakened, suggesting some cooling in manufacturing.

The Commerce Department said Thursday orders for manufactured goods dropped 0.9 percent after rising 1.8 percent in September.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast orders falling 1.0 percent in October.

Factory orders were weighed down by a 5.7 percent decline in transportation equipment as bookings for civilian and defense aircraft and parts tumbled.

Orders excluding the volatile transportation category were flat. The factory orders report adds to data such as durable goods orders and industrial production that have suggested a cooling in manufacturing activity.

But these so-called hard data on manufacturing are lagging sentiment surveys which have shown strength in factory activity in recent months. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Many economists view the sentiment surveys, including the Institute for Supply Management's report, as signaling a pickup in manufacturing next year.

The Commerce Department also said orders for durable goods, manufactured products expected to last three years or more, fell 1.6 percent instead of the 2.0 percent drop reported last week.

Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft -- seen as a measure of business confidence and spending plans -- slipped 0.6 percent in October instead of the previously reported 1.2 percent fall.

Unfilled orders of non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft increased 0.5 percent in October after rising 0.6 percent the prior month, a positive signal for manufacturing.

Overall manufacturing inventories rose 0.1 percent after advancing 0.3 percent in September. Manufacturing inventories are being closely watched for signs of slowdown after businesses piled up stock in their warehouses.

Originally published