WASHINGTON – Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket goods shot up 3.4% in January, pulled up by surge in orders for civilian aircraft. A category that tracks business investment posted a more modest gain, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
Orders for goods meant to last at least three years have now risen nine straight months, another sign that manufacturing has proven resilient in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The January gain -- triple what economists had expected -- followed upticks of 1.2% in December and 1.3% in November. Orders have now surpassed pre-pandemic levels; they're up 3.5% from a year earlier.