WASHINGTON -- Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods have fallen for the fifth straight month in December, closing out a dismal year in which demand dropped by the largest amount since the recession year of 2001.
Given the severity of the current recession, analysts say manufacturers face bleak prospects this year as well.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that new orders for durable goods dropped by 2.6 percent last month, an even bigger decline than the 2 percent decline that had been expected.
For the year, the government says orders fell 5.7 percent, the second biggest drop on record, exceeded only by a 10.7 percent plunge in 2001.
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