Aircraft Orders Boost Durable Goods Numbers

New orders for durable goods increased 3.7% to $233.4 billion for September, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens as PDF) released today.

After a steep drop in July and a slight gain in August, September's growth was greater than expected. Overall, analysts had predicted a 2.5% increase. Durable goods are items meant to last at least three years, and their movements are watched by analysts as an indicator of longer-term economic confidence (or lack thereof).

A 57.5% jump in aircraft orders accounted for nearly all the gain in the latest report. Commercial aircraft is a volatile category that can swing widely from month to month. Boeing says it received orders for 127 planes in September, up from just 16 in August.

Source: Census.gov. 

In September, demand fell for machinery, fabricated metals, electrical equipment and autos. Orders rose for computers and communications equipment and defense-related goods.

Excluding volatile transportation orders (which include aircraft), new orders in September actually fell 0.1%. Analysts had expected 0.5% growth in this category. 

While new orders made minimal moves outside of transportation, shipments increased 0.2% to $231.8 billion, their highest level since data were first recorded in 1992. Unfilled orders and inventories also broke their all-time records, increasing 0.8% to $1,041 billion and 0.9% to $383 billion, respectively.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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