U.S. Factory Orders Rise More Than Expected, Signaling Manufacturing Recovery

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New orders for U.S.-made goods moved higher for the second consecutive month in June, suggesting the manufacturing sector is on steadier footing and rebounding after the coronavirus shutdowns.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday factory orders increased 6.2 percent. Economists had expected a more modest rise of less than 5 percent in June after May’s 7.7 percent gain.

Manufactureing appears to still be expanding in July, showing no signs of the renewed weakness seen in the labor market after infections have arisen across the country in the second half of summer. The Institute Supply Management’s survey of industry executives showed activity rising to a 15-month high on Monday.

New orders for durable goods, big-ticket items meant to last three years or more, rose 7.6 percent in June, up from the initial report of a 7 percent rise. Orders were up 15 percent in May from the lockdown depressed level reported in April.

Orders for motor vehicles and parts rose 27.8 percent in June, following a 16.3 percent rise in May. Compared with last year, motor vehicle orders are down 10 percent year-to-date. Compared with last June, motor vehicles sold slightly more this year than last.

Despite the progress in June and May,  orders from U.S. manufacturers are still 10 percent below where they were year-to-date last year in June.

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