Demand for long-lasting manufactured products made in the U.S. fell 5.1 percent in December from a month earlier, and declined 3.5 percent for all of 2015, the Commerce Department said. The annual decline in durable-goods orders is the largest outside a recession on records back to 1992.
Why the pessimism about the economy? Last Monday, we learned that U.S. factories are expanding at their fastest pace in more than two years, capping the manufacturing industry's best six-month period since the recession ended in June 2009.
These are difficult times for economists and company managers because the outlook for 2013 is highly dependent on how the fiscal cliff (the large government budget cuts and tax increases that take effect on January 1, 2013) impasse is resolved and secondarily on whether Europe continues to recover from the recession resulting from its fiscal and financial crisis.