New orders for manufactured durable goods rose 4.6% to $230.7 billion for December, according to a Commerce Department report [link opens in PDF] released today. This news reaffirms a steady rise in durable goods, with increases in new orders for seven of the last eight months. In November, new orders bumped up 0.7%.
This newest report far exceeded analyst expectations of a modest 1.6% rise for December. Excluding transportation goods, new orders improved 1.3%, again beating Wall Street's expectations of a 0.4% rise.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods also increased 1.3% to $230.6 billion, and unfilled orders bumped up 0.8% to $992 billion. Meanwhile, inventories reversed their 14-month rise with a minor $100 million decrease to $374.5 billion.
Comparing 2012 to 2011, new orders of motor vehicles and parts showed the largest increase, up 11.6%. Meanwhile, new orders for computers and electronic products fell 11.4% year-over-year. Total new orders for durable goods were $2.7 trillion in 2012, up 4.1% from the previous year.