New orders for durable goods increased 2.2% to $229.4 billion for February, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens as PDF) released today. 

After January's 1% slump was revised down to -1.3%, February's jump came in much higher than expected. Overall, analysts had predicted a smaller 1% bump. Durable goods are items meant to last at least three years.

Durable Goods


Excluding volatile transportation orders (which include aircraft), however, February's numbers don't look quite as good. Growth slowed from 0.9% in January to 0.2% in February, just missing analyst expectations of a 0.3% improvement. 

Diving deeper, transportation's 6.9% jump came primarily from a boost in aircraft orders. While new nondefense aircraft orders increased 13.6% to $15 billion following a 22.1% drop the previous month, new orders for defense aircraft soared 21.1% to $4.6 billion for February, on top of a 17.2% increase from December 2013 to January 2014..

Durable goods shipments also increased, up 0.9% for the first time in three months. Inventories expanded 0.8% to $392.3 billion, the highest level recorded since data were first collected in 1992.

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