Factory orders drop 3.9% in December

By: By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
By: By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The government says orders to U.S. factories fell for a record fifth straight month in December, closing out the worst year for American manufacturers since 2002. Analysts say the deepening U.S. recession will mean further weakness in coming months.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that orders dropped by 3.9 percent in December, an even bigger decline than the 3 percent that economists had been expecting. The weakness was widespread with a range of industries from autos to heavy machinery and computers all reporting big declines in demand.

For all of 2008, factory orders are up by 0.4 percent, the weakest showing since orders actually fell by 1.8 percent in 2002.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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