WASHINGTON (AP) -- Orders to American factories for big-ticket manufactured goods edged down in August, the third straight monthly decline. Jobless claims shot up to a nine-year high, in part reflecting the impact of the terrorists attacks.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that new orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, fell by 0.3 percent, after even bigger drops of 2.5 percent and 1.1 percent in June and July, respectively.
Stocks were falling Thursday for the second straight day. After the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 61 points and the Nasdaq was off 33 points.
The last time durable-goods orders fell three months in a row was in April-June in 1999.
In another report, the Labor Department said new claims for state unemployment insurance jumped last week by 58,000 to 450,000, the highest level since July 25, 1992. The increase was in part attributed to layoffs and job dislocations stemming from the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
In a third report, new-home sales rose by 0.6 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 898,000.
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