WASHINGTON – Orders to U.S. factories increased in June, driven by a big gain in commercial airplanes. A key category that reflects business investment plans posted a modest rise.
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The Commerce Department says factory orders advanced 1.8 percent in the month. The jump reflected a surge in demand for commercial aircraft, an often volatile sector.
A key category that serves as a proxy for business investment plans edged up 0.7 percent after declines in April and June. In the first half of the year, demand in the investment category is down 3.5 percent from the same period a year ago.
Manufacturing has been held back this year by a rising dollar, which dampens demand for exports, and falling oil prices, which have cut into energy industry investment spending.