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1996 | 06
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Factory Orders Decline 0.1% On Low Demand for Aircraft
June 4, 1996

The sluggish manufacturing sector is showing signs of emerging from a recent slump even though overall new factory orders fell 0.1% in April, according to analysts. Many economists had estimated a drop of nearly 1%.

Factory orders fell slightly because reduced demand for aircraft and defense goods offset moderate gains in other sectors, the Commerce Department reported. The April decline followed a revised 1.7% increase in March, previously reported as a 1.5% gain.

Analysts had predicted a greater decline in April after the Commerce Department announced last week that durable-goods orders, such as for major appliances and automobiles, fell 1.9% in April. …

People Are Spending Briskly, But Inflation Remains Low
June 7, 1996

Alan Helfman has no doubts about the strength of the economy. He owns Ford and Chrysler dealerships in the affluent Houston suburb of River Oaks, Texas, and is selling vans, Jeeps and Ford Explorers like "gangbusters."

"We’re hot as fire down here," he drawls. "It’s not the best it’s ever been, but it’s pretty dang close."

Defying predictions, American consumers continue to open their wallets — and fuel economic growth. Economists say businesses let their inventories dwindle early this year and then were surprised by consumers’ resilience. But now, as they rush to restock their shelves, economic growth could pick up in …

Lawmakers Keep Earning Quick Profits on IPOs
June 18, 1996

WASHINGTON — Despite controversy in recent years over members of Congress earning quick profits on hard-to-get new stocks, one senator and two representatives reported thousands of dollars in gains on initial-public-offering trades last year.

Republican Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, Democratic Rep. John LaFalce of New York and the husband of Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California each made at least $5,000 on hot IPOs since last year, sometimes by buying and selling the same day. The wives of two other Democratic congressmen — Lloyd Doggett of Texas and Peter Deutsch of Florida — invested in IPO stocks but still hold …

FAA’s Flaws Exposed In ValuJet Shutdown
June 19, 1996

How did federal air safety regulators fail so badly?

The Federal Aviation Administration’s shutdown of ValuJet Airlines — less than six weeks after FAA officials had insisted that the airline was safe — has raised questions about the agency’s ability to ensure the safety of the U.S. airline industry. Those concerns led Tuesday to a major personnel shakeup at the agency, a tightening of inspection rules and a plea by Transportation Secretary Federico Pena for Congress to rewrite the agency’s historic mandate that requires it to promote as well as police the aviation industry.

"There should never be another question about the …