The government says orders for big-ticket goods plunged by a bigger-than-expected 5.2 percent in January as global economic troubles cut into demand from customers both in the United States and abroad.
The latest report on U.S. factory activity, released Thursday by the Commerce Department, showed that orders had fallen for a record six straight months. The previous record -- a four-month-stretch of declines -- came in 1992.
The weakness in January was broad based with orders for autos, metal products, machinery, computers and electrical equipment and household appliances all posting declines.
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