U.S. factory orders jump 1.1% as surging economy sends demand soaring

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U.S. factory orders rose 1.1% in March as fast-growing manufacturers sought to ratchet up production to match rising demand for new cars, construction equipment, computers, furniture and many other long-lasting goods.

Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal were expecting a 1.3% increase.

The biggest obstacle for manufacturers as the U.S. recovers from the pandemic is not a lack of demand. Companies have been deluged with new orders.

What’s holding them back are widespread shortages of parts and materials and sharp increases in prices caused by the supply bottlenecks. A global shortage of computer chips have been a particular problem.

Durable-goods orders rose a revised 0.8%, the the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Initially the government put the increase at 0.5%.

Read: Durable-goods orders rebound, but chip shortages gum up the works

Orders for nondurable goods rose 1.5% in the month.

Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft rose a revised 1.2% in March, up slightly from the prior estimate of a 0.9% advance.

Known as core orders, they point to an increase in business investment as the U.S. economy regains momentum after a winter lull.

U.S. stocks fell in Tuesday trades but remained near record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 200 points and the S&P500 was also off.

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