Factory orders suffer setback in November

WASHINGTON -- Orders to U.S. factories, after posting two months of solid increases, fell by 1.4 percent in November, the biggest decline in seven months. But analysts viewed the drop as a temporary blip in what has been an improving picture for American manufacturers. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that while a number of sectors suffered declines in orders, the weakness was concentrated in communications, which saw orders plunge by 41.1 percent. Demand in all categories of durable goods was down 2.5 percent, a slightly smaller drop than the 3.1 percent originally stated in a preliminary report two weeks ago. It was the biggest decrease in durable goods in more than a year.

No. 3 Internet provider cuts another 1,300 jobs

ATLANTA -- EarthLink is cutting another 1,300 jobs, or 40 percent of its work force, as part of a major restructuring that started a year ago. The nation's third-largest Internet service provider said Tuesday it will close its call centers in Harrisburg, Pa., Roseville, Calif., San Jose, Calif., and Pasadena, Calif., and reduce its call center operations in Atlanta by the end of the first quarter of 2004. About 1,300 of the Atlanta-based company's 3,300 employees will lose their jobs, a spokesman said. The cuts are on top of 1,300 jobs EarthLink shed in January 2003, meaning the company will have reduced its work force by 60 percent in a year.

Sprint PCS adds 1 million fourth quarter subscribers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sprint Corp. added 1 million wireless subscribers during the fourth quarter, chairman and chief executive Gary Forsee said Tuesday. Forsee credited Sprint's new offerings, such as its walkie-talkie service, and new phones, such as those that take pictures, for the increase. Sprint plans to release its fourth quarter earnings results Feb. 3. The Overland Park, Kan.-based company said customer turnover in its wireless division for the quarter is expected to be 2.7 percent -- which would be the same as in the third quarter.

Boeing names Bell new chief financial officer

CHICAGO -- Boeing Co. named James Bell on Tuesday as its chief financial officer, a job he was thrust into on an acting basis six weeks ago when Mike Sears was accused of ethical misconduct and fired. Boeing's new president and chief executive, Harry Stonecipher, called the 31-year Boeing veteran a superior financial leader.

Illinois camping fees may increase to pay utilities

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Campers looking to spend the night in Illinois state parks might have to shell out up to $20 per night under a proposed camping fee increase. The Department of Natural Resources has recommended raising camping fees by up to $9 a night for sites with the most amenities. The fees could bring in $2 million a year for park maintenance and utility bills, according to a DNR spokeswoman. Campers using bigger RVs with more appliances are driving up utility bills, she said.

-- From wire reports