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Factory orders, home sales on rise in April

A Commerce Department report released yesterday showed sales of new single-family homes jumped 14.8 percent in April. A Commerce Department report released yesterday showed sales of new single-family homes jumped 14.8 percent in April. (Paul Sakuma/ Associated Press)
By Martin Crutsinger
Associated Press / May 27, 2010

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WASHINGTON — The economic recovery got a lift in April as orders for large manufactured goods surged while sales of new homes benefited from homebuyer tax credits.

Manufacturing is helping drive the rebound. But some economists worry about the threat posed to US exports from the widening debt crisis in Europe. And some fear that home sales will falter in coming months because the tax breaks for buyers have expired.

Still, economists found the two Commerce Department reports released yesterday generally encouraging.

“These are very strong numbers which suggests the second quarter started off on a very solid note,’’ said Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics’ chief economist.

Demand for commercial aircraft lifted orders for durable goods 2.9 percent last month —. the best showing in three months. Excluding transportation, orders fell 1 percent in April. But that came after the March figures were revised to show a 4.8 percent jump.

A separate report showed sales of new single-family homes jumped 14.8 percent in April. That gain followed a 29.8 percent surge in March, the biggest monthly increase in 47 years.

Home sales have surged this spring as buyers rushed to sign sales contracts before tax credits expired on April 30.

The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the January-March quarter.