WASHINGTON — Companies placed more orders with US factories in May from April, demanding more computers, machinery, and other equipment that signal investment plans.
The increase is a welcome sign after two months of declining factory orders.
Still, factory orders are down from the start of the year. And more recent data show manufacturing activity shrank in June, adding to worries that weaker global growth is weighing on the US economy.
Factory orders increased 0.7 percent in May from April, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Overall factory orders increased to $469 billion. That’s 43.5 percent higher than the recession low in March 2009. But orders have fallen 2.5 percent over the past five months from their postrecession high in December.