Orders to U.S. factories for "big-ticket" durable goods plunged 1.7 percent in September, the third decline in the last four months, the government said today.
The Commerce Department reported that orders for durable goods -- items expected to last more than three years -- totaled a seasonally adjusted $124.9 billion.
Orders had fallen 0.8 percent in August and 3.1 percent in June. They rose 2.7 percent in July largely due to aircraft orders but are down 0.5 percent during the first nine months of 1990 compared to the same period of last year.
Durable goods orders are a key barometer of manufacturing industry plans for production. A decrease in orders could result in a slump in that sector and subsequent layoffs. Orders in the key category of non-defense capital goods, often a barometer of business plans to expand and modernize, jumped 6.3 percent to $38.2 billion but failed to regain a 9.9 percent loss in August.
Durable goods orders plunge