New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods fell in February as the sector continues to struggle with the lingering effects of a robust dollar and lower oil prices.
While other data on Thursday showed an increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week, revisions to the prior weeks’ figures showed the labor market was much stronger than previously thought.
The labor market resilience underscores the economy’s strength, which has helped calm concerns of a looming recession. That could keep the Federal Reserve on course to gradually raise interest rates this year.
The Commerce Department said orders for durable goods, items ranging from toasters to aircraft meant to last three years or more, declined 2.8 percent last month after a downwardly revised 4.2 percent increase in January.
Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, aclosely watched proxy for business spending plans, decreased 1.8 percent after advancing by a downwardly revised 3.1 percent in January. These so-called core capital goods orders were previously reported to have increased 3.4 percent in January.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast durable goods orders falling 2.9 percent last month and orders for core capital goods slipping 0.1 percent.
The dollar dipped against a basket of currencies after the data. U.S. stock futures were down, while prices for Treasuries were mixed. Read more