Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods increased in December after business stepped up spending on machinery and other capital goods.
The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods rose 3 percent last month. The second straight monthly gain offered more evidence that the economy has begun the new year with some momentum.
Perhaps the best evidence of that was a 2.9 percent increase in so-called core capital goods, such as computers and machinery. That pushed total orders for this category to a record $68.9 billion.
Economists pay most attention to so-called core capital goods because they are often viewed as a good way of gauging business investment plans.