WASHINGTON — Businesses ordered more manufactured goods from U.S. factories in January, but excluding a big surge in demand for airplanes, the rise in demand was the smallest in three months.
The Commerce Department says that excluding the volatile transportation category, orders rose 0.7 percent in January, the weakest showing since October. And a key category that serves as a proxy for business investment plans fell by the largest amount in two years.
Helped by the surge in demand for commercial aircraft, total business orders rose 3.1 percent in January, the biggest gain in more than four years. That pushed total orders up to $445.6 billion, a level that economists view as healthy and 26.3 percent above the recession low hit in March 2009.