[WASHINGTON] New orders for US factory goods increased slightly in August, a further sign that the manufacturing sector is beginning to regain some steam.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that new orders for manufactured goods rose 0.2 per cent after a downwardly revised 1.4 per cent increase in July. It was the second straight monthly increase following two months of weakness.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders declining 0.1 per cent in August after a previously reported 1.9 per cent jump in July.
The department also said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft increased 0.9 per cent in August compared to the 0.6 per cent rise it reported last week. Core capital goods are seen as a measure of business confidence and spending plans on equipment.
Core capital goods shipments, which are used to calculate business equipment spending in the gross domestic product report, edged down 0.1 per cent in August. They were previously reported to have fallen 0.4 per cent.
Manufacturing, which comprises about 12 per cent of the economy, has been hampered by weak global demand and the residual effects of a strong dollar.
The Institute of Supply Management reported on Monday that its national factory activity index rebounded back into expansionary territory after slumping the previous month.
Inventories of factory goods rose 0.2 per cent in August while shipments were unchanged. As a result, the inventories-to-shipments ratio was unchanged at 1.36.