New orders for goods from American factories rose in October, the latest sign that the U.S. manufacturing sector may be stabilizing after a summer swoon.
Factory goods orders rose 0.3 percent for the month to $497.0 billion. The gain followed two consecutive months of declines. September’s orders were revised down to 0.8 percent from the previously reported 0.6 percent decline.
The crucial category of non-defense spending excluding aircraft, which is seen as a proxy for business investment, rose 1.1 percent, a tick below the preliminary report of a 1.2 percent rise for October. Shipments of these so-called “core capital goods” rose 0.8 percent.
Durable goods orders rose a solid 0.5 percent, down slightly from the initial estimate of a 0.6 percent increase. These orders have been up in four of the last five months.
Machinery orders soared 1.2 percent in October, more than reversing the 0.1 slump in September. This was boosted by a big gain in mining and drilling machinery orders, up 10 percent after slumping on low energy prices earlier this year, and a smaller gain in industrial machinery.
Orders of computers and electronic products rose 0.6 percent. Furniture orders jumped 3.2 percent.
The dollar value of orders for household appliances fell for the second consecutive month. This could reflect early discounting by retailers in anticipation of holiday shopping. The price of major appliances fell 0.4 percent in October, according to the government’s consumer price data. Prices of all appliances dipped 1.7 percent in September and rose 0.1 percent in October.