WASHINGTON, June 4 New orders for U.S. factory
goods fell in April for the third time in four months as demand
slipped for everything from cars and machinery to computers, the
latest worrisome sign for the economy.
The Commerce Department said on Monday orders for
manufactured goods dropped 0.6 percent during the month. The
government also revised its estimate for new orders in March to
show a steeper decline.
Economists had forecast orders rising 0.2 percent in April.
The report showed broad weakness in a sector that has
carried the economic recovery, adding to a growing body of soft
economic data in the United States.
"Obviously it's a slowdown in the economy," said Joel Naroff
of Naroff Economic advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.
The Labor Department on Friday reported that job creation
slowed in May for the fourth straight month. Also that day, the
Institute for Supply Management said the pace of growth in
manufacturing slowed modestly in May, although the ISM's own
gauge of new orders rose to its highest in over a year.
The Commerce Department report showed new orders for motor
vehicles and parts fell 0.5 percent in April.
An increase in new orders for civilian aircraft buoyed the
overall transportation sector.
Outside transportation, orders dropped 1.1 percent, with
machinery down 2.9 percent and orders for computers and
electronics off by 0.8 percent. The government also revised
downward its estimate for new orders of long-lasting
manufactured goods in April.
U.S. stock prices declined as investors fretted about signs
of economic weakness around the globe and Europe's intensifying
Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft -
seen as a measure of business confidence and spending plans -
dipped 2.1 percent in April. Shipments of this category, which
go into calculations of gross domestic product, fell 1.5 percent
during the month.