Manufacturing Remains Weak in U.S., Labor Shows Its Strength

New orders for manufactured goods that are long-lasting in the U.S. fell during February as the industry continued struggling with the effects of a strong U.S. dollar and lower prices of oil.

While other information Thursday showed increases in the amount of Americans that were filing unemployment benefits a week ago, revisions to the figures the week before showed that the labor market was far stronger than had been previously thought.

The labor market resilience has helped to calm fears that the economy was heading toward a recession. The combination of the tightening conditions in the labor market and the firming of inflation likely keep the course for the Federal Reserve of steadily increasing its interest rates in 2016.

The economy is continuing to hold up despite a slowdown in a number of other nations across the globe, said one analyst on Wall Street after the report was released.

The Department of Commerce said that order of durable goods, items that range from aircraft to toasters, that are meant to last three years or more, dropped in three of the past four months.

Capital goods orders that were non-defense, excluding aircraft, a proxy that is closely watched for spending plans for business, was down 1.8% after advancing by 3.1% during January although that figure had been revised downward.

Economists were expecting durable goods orders to fall 2.9% in February and that orders for the economy’s core capital goods would slip by 0.1%.

U.S. stocks were down on the new data and the weaker prices of oil. The dollar was up against a host of different currencies after a member of the Federal Reserve said an interest rate change might not be far off.

In another report, the Department of Labor said initial unemployment claims were up by 6,000 to 265,000 for the week that ended on March 19.

The central bank raised its interest rate for the short term this past December for just the first time in close to 10 years.

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