Manufacturing cools in U.S. as government cuts loom

Orders Rising

“The stronger demand environment has continued,” Ron Slaymaker, vice president of the Dallas-based company, said on a March 7 conference call with analysts. “Quarter-to-date orders have been growing strongly.”

Manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the economy, has rebounded following a mid-2012 slowdown. Orders for durable goods jumped 5.7 percent in February, the most since September, after falling 3.8 percent the prior month, the Commerce Department said on March 26.

Federal Reserve policy makers have said they’re concerned the fiscal restraint may impede the expansion’s progress. The economy cooled to a 0.4 percent annual rate in the final three months of 2012, after growing at a 3.1 percent pace in the third quarter.

United Technologies Corp., the maker of Pratt & Whitney jet engines and Otis elevators, is among businesses projecting economic growth will improve.

“The U.S. economy is better and it is going to continue to get better,” Gregory Hayes, chief financial officer of the Hartford, Connecticut-based company, said at a March 14 analyst meeting. “We’ve got another year-and-a-half or so probably of low interest-rate environment, which we could hope to capitalize on.”

Bloomberg News

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