New orders for US factory goods were down for a second straight month in September with the strong dollar weighing heavily on the manufacturing sector already burdened by the deep spending cuts by energy companies.
Motor vehicle production, however, continued to grow on higher orders in September, and the trend is expected to persist with automakers reporting Tuesday that sales in October were the best in 14 years.
"This morning's report provides little new signal on the state of US manufacturing. Demand for many categories of manufactured goods continues to struggle from the effect of a stronger dollar, weak foreign demand and lower energy prices," said Jesse Hurwitz, an economist at Barclays in New York, Reuters reported.
According to the commerce department, new orders for manufactured goods declined 1.0 per cent after a downward-revised 2.1 per cent drop in August. Factory orders had earlier been reported to have fallen 1.7 per cent in August.
Orders for automobiles and parts were up 1.5 per cent in September after falling 2.0 per cent in August.
Auto sales vaulted 13.6 per cent in October from a year ago to an annual rate of 18.24 million units, the highest October level since 2001, according to Autodata Corp.
Excluding transportation orders, which tended to be volatile month-on-month, factory orders were down 0.6 per cent in September.
Transportation orders fell 3.1 per cent last month, less than half the August decline. Commercial aircraft and parts orders were down a massive 36 per cent even in the face of a pick-up in defense aircraft orders.
Total factory orders in September came in 7.2 per cent down from a year ago.
The broad weakness included durable goods -- products expected to last at least three years which fell 1.2 per cent, while non-durable goods orders fell 0.8 per cent.
"Demand for many categories of manufactured goods continues to struggle from the effect of a stronger dollar, weak foreign demand and lower energy prices," said Barclays analyst Jesse Hurwitz, AP reported.