Durable Orders Take Flight

Lifted by a 71.1% increase in new orders for non-defense aircraft and parts, durable goods orders among U.S. manufacturers posted an impressive 6.1% gain in March, the fifth increase in the past six months, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on April 26. New orders for durable goods, generally big-ticket items designed to last at least three years, totaled $230.6 billion last month, up $13.3 billion from February's total.

An exceptionally large number of commercial aircraft orders overstates the strength of new orders for manufactured durables, says Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an Arlington, Va.-based business and public policy research group. Nevertheless, orders over the last three months indicate solid manufacturing order books," stresses Meckstroth.

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