New orders for manufactured durable goods in August decreased $9.9 billion or 4.5% to $208.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced on Sept. 25. This was the largest percent decrease in new orders since January 2008 and followed three consecutive monthly increases including a 0.8% July increase.
"The durable goods report for August shows that U.S. manufacturing remains in a weak and uncertain state," said Cliff Waldman, Economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. "Excluding the volatile transportation category, total new orders declined by a sharp 3.0% after modest growth during the prior two months. And new orders for capital goods excluding aircraft, a proxy for business equipment spending, declined by a significant 2%.
"Thus far, the manufacturing slump has been moderate as export demand has been supportive," he added, "but the financial shock which now threatens the entire economy, in tandem with slowing global growth and elevated oil prices, clouds the short-term outlook. Much depends on the capacity of U.S. policy makers to restore normal functioning to financial markets and of foreign central banks to respond to emerging economic weakness."