United States factory orders experienced their biggest decline in three years this past March. The decline was due primarily to a 50 percent decline in orders for commercial aircraft, which orders are highly volatile and of great value. Excluding changes in transportation orders, however, factory orders rose by a slight 0.5 percent. In addition, some economists say that factory orders are on a positive trend, but are experiencing irregular fluctuations. The volatile fluctuations mean that month to month changes are not a useful economic indicator and should be taken with a grain of salt.
Overall, factory orders in March were still up 37 percent higher from the low point of the recent recession, but still 4.2% shy of the peak reached just before the recession began. In addition, new orders, production and a measure of hiring all rose, suggesting that March’s decrease in orders was a temporary blip in the data that likely will not last.
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