Orders to U.S. factories grew 2.4 percent in July on the largest hike in auto demand in eight years and increased commercial aircraft orders, providing a boost for the beleaguered U.S. economy after a revised 0.4 percent decline in factory orders in June.
The Commerce Department said the gain in July was the largest factory orders increase since March, when orders rose 3 percent.
Orders for non-defense capital goods, considered a strong indicator of business investment plans, excluding aircraft, fell 0.2 percent.
Demand for nondurable goods rose 1 percent in July following a 1.1 percent decrease in June. Orders for transportation equipment rose 14.8 percent, up two of the last three months.
Demand for motor vehicles and auto parts grew 9.9 percent in July, the largest one-month increase since January 2003. The increase suggests that the impacts of supply chain disruptions caused by the Japanese disasters in March are waning.
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