US factory orders rose in March

WASHINGTON – Orders to U.S. factories advanced by a modest amount in March, reflecting strength in demand for military hardware and machinery.

The Commerce Department says factory orders rose 1.1 per cent, rebounding from a 1.9 per cent drop in February. It was only the second increase in total orders in the past five months as American manufacturers have struggled with a weak global economy, a strong dollar and a big fall in oil prices.

A key category that serves as a proxy for business investment posted a tiny 0.1 per cent rise in March after a 2.7 per cent decline in February.

Orders for durable goods such as autos and appliances rose 0.8 per cent. Demand for nondurable goods such as paper and chemicals rose 1.5 per cent.