WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses increased their orders in January, although a key component that tracks business investment spending fell for the first time in four months.
The Commerce Department says factory orders rose 1.2 percent, led by a jump in demand for aircraft. Orders had risen 1.3 percent in December.
A category that serves as a proxy for business investment edged down 0.1 percent in January after three months of solid gains. It was the first setback since a 1.5 percent decline in the category in September.
American manufacturing has been under stress for more than a year as a strong dollar cut into export sales and a big plunge in oil prices triggered cutbacks by energy companies. Manufacturers are expected to see stronger sales in 2017.