U.S. factory orders plunge 2.9% in December
The Commerce Department said factory orders tumbled by 2.9 percent in December after falling by 0.7 percent in November. Economists had expected orders to slump by 2.8 percent.
The decrease in factory orders was largely due to the steep drop in durable goods orders, which plummeted by 5.0 percent in December following a 0.5 percent decline in November.
Orders for transportation equipment led the decrease in durable goods orders, plunging by 12.6 percent in December. The report also showed a decline in orders for non-durable goods, which fell by 0.8 percent for the second consecutive month.
The Commerce Department also said shipments of manufactured goods slid by 1.4 percent in December after edging down by 0.1 percent in November. Meanwhile, inventories of manufactured goods rose by 0.2 percent in December after falling by 0.3 percent in November.
The inventories-to-shipments ratio subsequently climbed to 1.38 in December from 1.35 in the previous month. ■