DURABLE GOODS ORDERS SLID 2.8 PERCENT LAST MONTH

DURABLE GOODS ORDERS SLID 2.8 PERCENT LAST MONTH

The Commerce Department reported that orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, totaled a seasonally adjusted $112.23 billion last month, down $3.28 billion from the December level.

The steep decline followed a 4.1 percent increase in December, which had been the largest gain in nine months.Analysts had been anticipating a sharp January decline in orders, given the big December increase.

The Reagan administration is forecasting that half of total economic growth this year will come from continued improvements in U.S. export sales.

The 2.8 percent drop in January orders was the largest setback since an 8 percent fall in January 1987.

The weakness came from two primary sources, a setback in transportation and orders for primary metals such as steel, two categories that had posted unusually large increases in December.

Demand in transportation industries fell by 12.4 percent to $27.21 billion last month following an 8.6 percent advance in December, a surge attributed primarily to new aircraft orders placed with the Boeing Co. of Seattle.