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US factory orders rise 1.1% in March

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US factory orders rise 1.1% in March

New orders for US factory goods increased in March, adding further evidence the economy was rebounding at the end of the first quarter.

US factory orders rose 1.1 percent in March, after a revised gain of 1.5 percent the previous month, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. A broad consensus of economists called for a gain of 1.4 percent.

Excluding transportation equipment, new orders advanced 0.6 percent, following a gain of 0.7 percent that was also the biggest since July 2013.

Gains were broad-based in March. Shipments increased 0.3 percent to $494.9 billion, the highest level since 1992. Unfilled orders increased 0.6 percent to $1,069.3 billion, also the highest level since 1992.

New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 2.9 percent; shipments of these goods rose 1.2 percent, official data showed.

Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft increased 3.5 percent, the largest monthly advance since January 2013.

Factory activity is rebounding after severe winter weather disrupted the pace of US recovery in late-2013 and early-2014. US gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the first quarter, official data from the Commerce Department showed this week.

There is strong reason to believe factory orders will continue to gather pace in the second quarter. The Institute for Supply Management reported on Thursday the goods-producing sector in April expanded for the eleventh consecutive month, as 17 of 18 manufacturing industries reported gains. In response, 15 of 18 manufacturing industries said they added more workers last month, which was reflected in the Labor Department’s latest nonfarm payrolls report.

US employers added 288,000 workers in April, the biggest monthly advance in more than two years, the Labor Department reported today.

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