Fresh data do nothing to clarify which direction the US economy is headed, with January house sales plunging but durable goods orders bouncing back.

According to the Commerce Department, last month’s sales of new homes plunged 15.1% compared with December to an annualised rate of 914,000 – the worst monthly total since January 1994.

However, a separate report from the government agency found that factory orders for durable goods – products designed to last upward of three years – jumped 3.3% last month, the biggest increase since July last year. The rise follows respective falls of 0.4% and 1.2% in December and November.

There were increases in orders across most sectors, particularly for automobiles (up 10.7%, the largest rise since April) and communications equipment, up 46.1% – a sharp rebound from December’s 15.8% slump.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff