In this, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, photo, employees load a washer and dryer into customer’s car at the loading docks of Nebraska Furniture Mart in Omaha, Neb. The Commerce Department reports on business orders for durable goods in March on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods fell in March by the most in seven months. The drop reflected a steep decline in commercial aircraft demand and little growth in orders that signal future business investment.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for durable goods declined 5.7 percent in March. That followed a 4.3 percent gain in February, which was revised lower.
Weaker economies overseas and the impact of across-the-board government spending cuts have made businesses more cautious. That’s reduced demand for manufactured goods. Spending on defense equipment also fell sharply last month.
Durable goods are items expected to last at least three years. Orders for durable goods tend to fluctuate sharply from month to month and economists cautioned against reading too much into one monthly decline.