Business

U.S. orders for durables up 2.2 percent

WASHINGTON – U.S. companies ordered more long-lasting goods last month, showing businesses are willing to buy equipment and machinery even after an investment tax credit was halved.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for durable goods rose 2.2 percent in February after a steep drop in January. Greater demand for machinery, computers, autos and aircraft drove much of the increase.

Orders for so-called “core” capital goods, a good measure of business investment plans, rose 1.2 percent. Demand for these goods fell in January by the most in a year, after the full tax credit expired.

A durable good is expected to last at least three years. Orders can fluctuate sharply from month to month. In February, durable goods orders totaled $211.8 billion, 42 percent above the recession low. But orders remain nearly 14 percent below their peak in December 2007.



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