The Week Ahead


New orders placed with durable goods manufacturers were probably unchanged in March from February, according to economists polled by MMS International, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc. The weakness in orders is suggested by the decline in industrial output and the continued drop in factory jobs in March. Manufacturers seem to have little new demand to keep workers busy. Orders declined a steep 2% in January and a further 0.3% in February. They now stand more than 4% below year-ago levels. Unfilled durable-goods orders likely declined in March. The backlog was unchanged in both January and February and is just 1.4% above the pace of a year earlier.

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