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Factory orders slip, service sector growing more slowly: reports

December 5, 2011 | 10:36 am

Demand for commercial airplanes fell in October.

Demand for commercial airplanes, ships and electrical equipment slipped in October, pushing factory orders nationwide down 0.4% in the second monthly decline in a row.

Orders for manufactured goods slipped $1.6 billion to $450 billion after falling 0.1% in September, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Durable goods -– those designed to last at least three years –- had orders slide 0.5% in October. Demand for non-defense aircraft and parts dropped 16.8% and fell 38.2% for ships and boats. Electrical equipment orders tumbled 5.3%.

But in a sign of optimism, inventories have increased 24 of the last 25 months, stepping up 0.9% in October to $607.1 billion.

Non-manufacturing industries such as hospitality, healthcare and retail had growth for the 24th straight month but at a slower rate, according to the Institute for Supply Management on Monday.

An index measuring service companies settled at 52% in November, less than the 52.9% registered in October and the lowest reading since January 2010, but still enough to signal expansion.

New orders were up, as were prices, according to the group.



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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Mauricio Lima / AFP / Getty Images

Video: Service sector taps on brakes. Credit: Reuters