Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods turned in their highest rise in more than two-and-a-half years last month.
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Manufacturers’ orders for televisions and cars increased 9.9% last month to a seasonably adjusted $218.24 billion. Orders for airplanes surged but still were not enough to counter the 13.1% drop in orders for durable goods in August.
Excluding transportation, orders climbed a solid 2%. Machinery and metals orders rose; computers and communications equipment orders fell.
Manufacturing has been a bright spot in the economic recovery. The sector has added 500,000 jobs since the start of 2010. But growth has slowed
in the past two months and employment has fallen.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims for the week ending October 20 dropped by 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 369,000.
The first half of October showed wide swings in the number of new claims based on technical issues. But numbers seem now to have stabilized. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatile weekly data, rose by 1500 to 368,000.