WASHINGTON – Orders to U.S. factories fell in August by the largest amount on record, but the big drop was heavily influenced by a plunge in volatile aircraft orders.
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A key category that tracks business investment plans posted a small increase, which was viewed as an encouraging indication that factory production will maintain momentum in the second half of this year.
The Commerce Department orders dropped 10.1 percent in August after a record increase of 10.5 percent in July. Both months were heavily influenced by swings in demand for commercial aircraft, which soared in July only to plummet in August.
Core capital goods, a category seen as a proxy for business investment, managed to rise a slight 0.4 percent in August after a 0.1 percent July dip.