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BRIEFLY / THE ECONOMY

Factory Orders Continue to Gain in June

August 04, 2000|Associated Press

U.S. factories hummed in June as brisk demand for new aircraft sent new orders soaring. The Commerce Department said factory orders climbed 5.5% in June, after a gain of 4.7% in May. Excluding orders for aircraft and other transportation equipment, however, orders were up only 0.3%, following a 4.4% increase in May. Transportation orders, which account for nearly 20% of U.S. factory business, jumped 42.2% after a 6.8% pickup in May. Orders for all types of durable goods--items such as cars and refrigerators designed to last three years or more--rose 9.7% in June, while orders for nondurable products such as food and clothing edged down 0.1%. Orders for non-defense capital goods--seen as a proxy for businesses' investment plans--jumped 16.5%. Separately, new claims for unemployment pay edged up 2,000 last week to 276,000, still a low level that reflects ample job opportunities, the Labor Department said. The four-week moving average that irons out weekly fluctuations dipped to 295,750 last week from a revised 300,000 in the preceding week.

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