WASHINGTON Orders for U.S. factory goods that signal business investment plans jumped last month by the most in more than a year, suggesting companies are confident about their business prospects.
The Commerce Department says orders for so-called core capital goods, which include machinery, equipment and software, rose 6.3 percent in January from December. A sharp drop in demand for commercial aircraft caused overall durable goods orders to drop 5.2 percent, the steepest since August.
Orders for commercial aircraft are volatile. Boeing reported orders for only two planes in January, down from 183 in December.
The increase in core capital goods suggests companies are willing to expand their production capacities despite worries that automatic government spending cuts that kick in Friday will slow the economy in the coming months.