U.S. Durable Goods Orders up 1.9% in April

This was the second increase in the last three months and followed a 2.1% decrease in March.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in April increased $3 billion or 1.9% to $161.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced on May 28..

Nondefense new orders for capital goods in April decreased $1 billion or 2% to $49.5 billion. Defense new orders for capital goods in April increased $2 billion or 23.2% to $10.8 billion.

"The modestly positive data in the April durable goods report adds to a growing body of evidence that the worst may be over for the sharp contraction in U.S. economic and manufacturing growth," said Cliff Waldman, Economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI.

"While it is encouraging to see demand gains in industries that are fundamental to manufacturing supply chains such as primary and fabricated metals, it is important to note that the former remains almost 46% below year-ago levels," he added. "Further, new orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a proxy for business equipment spending, experienced a second consecutive monthly decline after strong activity in February and remains 24% below year-ago levels.

"Significant declines in key overseas economies, still difficult but somewhat improved financing conditions, and a general sense that any economic and manufacturing recovery is likely to be quite modest are impeding a capital spending rebound, a problem that is likely to plague broad economic and manufacturing recovery efforts through the balance of 2009 and early 2010, he concluded.

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