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Factory Orders Jump 1.1% as Businesses Invest in Heavy Machinery

New York Times (02/04/12)

Orders to factories increased in December, supported by a rebound in business investment in capital goods. In addition, service companies grew at the fastest pace in 11 months in January as companies started hiring to keep up with rising demand. Factory orders rose 1.1% in December after gaining 2.2% in November, the U.S. Commerce Department reported. For the year, total orders were up 12.1% after a gain of 12.9% in 2010. Orders for so-called core capital goods increased 3.1% to a record high.

Separately, the Institute for Supply Management said on Friday that its index of nonmanufacturing activity jumped to 56.8% in January from 53% in December. The survey’s employment index soared to its highest level since February 2006. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.