Durable goods in demand as business gets rolling

The pit in the floor here will host a hydraulic stamping mill for manufacturing aluminum body panels. As NUMMI did not have any hydraulic stamping mills, Tesla purchased one, and is readying the pit for this massive piece of machinery.
James Martin/CNET

WASHINGTON -- Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods increased in December after business stepped up spending on machinery and other capital goods.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods rose 3 percent last month. The second straight monthly gain offered more evidence that the economy has begun the new year with some momentum.

Perhaps the best evidence of that was a 2.9 percent increase in so-called core capital goods, such as computers and machinery. That pushed total orders for this category to a record $68.9 billion.

Economists pay most attention to so-called core capital goods because they are often viewed as a good way of gauging business investment plans.