Durable Goods Increased 5.9% in July

Fifth increase in last six months

New orders for manufactured durable goods in July increased $12.9 billion or 5.9% to $230.7 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced August 24.. This was the fifth increase in the last six months and at the highest level since the series was first stated on a NAICS basis in 1992. This increase followed a 1.9% June increase.

"The 5.9% increase in July durable goods orders and, more importantly, the 2.2% gain in nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, indicate that the equipment and machinery side of manufacturing was gathering substantial momentum prior to the August liquidity squeeze in the financial markets," said Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. " These durable goods order statistics show that firms had enough confidence in the outlook to make investments in equipment and machinery last month.

"The financial turmoil in August casts a pall over this stellar economic report," he added. "Just as firms were gaining confidence and investing in the future, credit markets turn frosty and stock markets panicked. Unfortunately, it will be another 30 days before there is data to answer the important question of whether the financial contagion affected the financing of capital expenditures."

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in July, up sixteen of the last seventeen months, increased $0.4 billion or 0.1% to $313.0 billion. decrease.

Excluding transportation, new orders increased 3.7%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 4.9%.

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