WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. companies boosted their orders for manufactured goods by the largest amount in 18 months in September, but companies remained cautious in ordering goods that signal plans to expand and modernize.
The Commerce Department says factory orders rose 4.8 percent in September compared to August, a month when orders had fallen 5.1 percent. The September gain was the biggest since March 2011 and was driven by a surge in demand for commercial aircraft, a volatile category which had seen orders plunge in August.
Demand for core capital goods, viewed as a good proxy for business investment plans, edged up a slight 0.2 percent in September following a 0.3 percent rise in August. The two modest gains followed two months of huge declines as business investment remains weak.