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Milton Ezrati of Lord AbbettBusiness spending on capital goods, once an area of considerable relative strength, has weakened of late. When the spending pickup began earlier in this recovery, the utilization rates for existing facilities were so low that many expressed surprise. Only a little of the spending went for increased capacity, of course. Most of it was aimed at labor-saving equipment. Though this focus held back the pace of hiring, it did contribute to economic growth. While Tuesday’s report on October non-defense capital goods purchases showed a 0.8% rise, most of this year’s data suggest the demand has run its course and the capital spending sector, too, has fallen into the slow slog that has typified much of the rest of the economy for some time now. 

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