WASHINGTON: New orders for US manufactured goods surged in March, bouncing back from a February slump mainly due to defence orders, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday (May 4).
Factory orders rose 1.1 per cent following a 1.9 per cent decline in February. The March gain was twice as much as analysts expected.
Stripping out volatile transportation, factory orders were up 0.8 per cent month-over-month. Excluding defence, orders rose a modest 0.2 per cent.
Transportation orders advanced 2.8 per cent due to large increases for ships and defence aircraft. Orders for motor vehicles fell 0.9 per cent after a 2.6 per cent gain in February.
Manufacturing has been a weak spot in the US economy amid sluggish economic growth and the strong dollar's negative impact on exports. March factory orders were down 2.0 per cent from a year ago.
"Wednesday's report showed once again that US factories are struggling to find their footing, despite the better than expected topline number," said Ilir Hysa of Moody's Analytics. "With factory output posting nearly no growth for about a year now, the sentiment among manufacturers has suffered."