WASHINGTON (AP) -- Orders to U.S. factories posted a moderate increase in April as a big surge in demand for commercial aircraft offset weakness in a number of other areas.
The Commerce Department said that orders for manufactured goods increased 1.2 percent in April, a slowdown from a 1.7 percent rise in March. Excluding transportation, orders actually fell 0.5 percent, the poorest showing in 13 months. However, that drop followed a big 3.8 percent surge in March which had been the largest advance in six years.
So far in this recovery, the manufacturing sector has been one of the star performers, helped by a strong rebound in domestic demand and rising export sales. However, economists worry that the debt crisis in Europe could slow sales in one of America\'s biggest overseas markets.