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Manufacturing Rebounds From Slump

April 29, 1999|Reuters

New orders for most manufactured goods, from cars to computers, bounced back in March from a February slump, the Commerce Department said. The value of new orders for all types of durable goods--items intended to last three years or longer--gained 2% to a seasonally adjusted $197.75 billion after a revised 3.9% drop in February. The March pickup handily surpassed Wall Street economists' forecasts of a 1.2% increase in orders. Manufacturing had lagged other sectors of the steadily expanding U.S. economy, partly because exports suffered after Asian countries entered a financial crisis in mid-1997. Transportation orders, which account for more than one-fifth of monthly business, gained 3.6% to $47.34 billion in March after plunging 12.8% in February. New aircraft orders weakened, but that was more than offset by stronger demand for ships, new cars and parts. Excluding transportation, March orders rose 1.5% after a 0.8% drop in February. Analysts said the report implied U.S. manufacturing might soon benefit from an upturn in Asia.

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