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New factory orders up 1.7% in January -- largest increase since September

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New factory orders jumped 1.7% in January, the largest increase in four months, according to the Commerce Department.

Orders for manufactured goods have been up for nine of the last 10 months, the U.S. Census Bureau agency said Thursday. After a 1.5% December increase, orders in January rose $6.2 billion to $378.4 billion.

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Excluding the 15% jump in orders for transportation equipment, however, order totals were up a modest 0.1% in January. Orders for commercial planes and parts skyrocketed 118.6% after plunging 28.4% the previous month and 40.4% in November.

Inventories saw a 0.2% uptick, increasing $800 million to $495.2 billion. The section has risen for three of the last four months with the exception of December’s 0.2% drop.

Shipments continued an upward trend after a 1.8% upswing in December, rising $1 billion -- or 0.3% -- to $383.7 billion. Unfilled orders for durable goods reversed a 15-month slide by increasing $100 million to $717.8 billion.

-- Tiffany Hsu

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