WASHINGTON — Orders for US factory goods that signal business investment plans jumped last month by the most in more than a year, suggesting companies are confident about their business prospects.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for core capital goods, which include industrial machinery, construction equipment, and computers, rose 6.3 percent in January from December.
A sharp fall in demand for commercial aircraft caused overall durable goods orders to drop 5.2 percent, the first decline since August.
Orders for commercial aircraft are volatile from month to month and can cause large swings in the overall figure. Orders for defense equipment also plummeted by the most in more than 12 years.
The increase in core capital goods suggests companies are willing to expand their production capacities despite worries that automatic government spending cuts will slow the economy in the coming months.
Still, the jump in orders wasn’t broad-based and occurred mostly in machinery and manufactured metal products.
And even with the increase, orders have mostly just recovered last year’s losses.