The Commerce Department said on Thursday that factory orders shot up 2.6% after rising 1.6% in December. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders advancing 2.1% in January. Orders increased 1.3% on a year-on-year basis.
Unfilled orders at factories edged up 0.1% in January after decreasing 0.2% in December.
“Monetary policy is accommodative and it continues to need to be accommodative ... Expect us to move carefully, patiently, and with a lot of advance warning,” before any changes, Powell said in response to questions from Republican lawmakers about whether a faster-than-expected recovery still required crisis-level assistance.
The ebbing economic momentum, which appears to have spilled over into the new year, could persuade the U.S. Congress to agree to President-elect Joe Biden’s ambitious $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus plan.