US orders for long-lasting goods plunge in March

AP News
Posted: Apr 25, 2012 8:34 AM
US orders for long-lasting goods plunge in March

Orders for long-lasting factory goods fell by the largest amount in three years last month, mostly because demand for commercial aircraft plummeted. But companies also ordered less machinery and other equipment, a sign manufacturing output may slow.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods dropped 4.2 percent in March, the steepest fall since January 2009. Commercial aircraft orders, a volatile category, fell by nearly 50 percent.

Excluding transportation equipment, orders declined 1.1 percent. That's the second drop in that category in three months.

And orders for so-called "core" capital goods, a good measure of business investment plans, declined 0.8 percent. Companies are reducing their orders for steel and other metals, industrial machinery and computers.