Orders for U.S.-made goods rose 0.1% in January, according to the latest figures released by the Commerce Department. Economists had expected an increase in orders of 0.3% for the month, according to Reuters. Year over year, factory orders were up 3.8%.
The month-to-month dip may have been driven by a decrease in orders for computers and electronic products. The trade war with China is also seen to have hurt manufacturing and exports. In addition, the impact of the Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion tax cut is fading.
January was also a lackluster month for factory shipments. They fell 0.4% in January, the fourth consecutive month of declines, the longest such streak since the middle of 2015.
Orders for machinery increased by 1.5% in January after falling 0.4% in December. Orders for mining, oil-field machinery, and gas-field machinery fell 2.7%, however, after a much larger fall in December.
Orders for transportation equipment increased significantly, by 1.2%, in January.
Orders for electrical equipment, appliances, and components, meanwhile, also rose, by 1.4%. Orders for computers and electronic products fell 0.9%, however, after decreasing 0.4% in December.
Orders for civilian aircraft and parts increased by 15.6% in January. Orders for core capital goods, which excludes aircraft, fell 0.8%. Core capital goods are seen as an indicator of firms’ spending plans.
The ratio of inventories to shipments increased to 1.36 in January, up from 1.35 in December. Inventories of manufactured goods rose 0.5% in January, according to the report.
The release of the factory figures from the Commerce Department was delayed by the partial shutdown of the federal government, which lasted 35 days.
Manufacturing accounts for about 12% of the economy.