WASHINGTON – U.S. companies stepped up their spending on industrial machinery, steel, and other big-ticket items from the previous month, a sign that one of the economy, the weaknesses can improve.
The Commerce Department says a measure that tracks business investment rose 0.9 percent in November, after a slight 0.2 percent increase the previous month. But those gains follow a 1.5 percent decline in September.
Orders for all big-ticket factory goods fell by 4.6 percent, mostly as a result of a sharp decline in demand for commercial aircraft, a volatile category. Excluding transportation-related goods, orders rose 0.5 percent.
The data suggest that companies can release their cut after more than a year of spending cuts that will weigh on the economy. Business investment spending down 3.9 percent this year compared with 2015.