WASHINGTON, D.C. - Orders for U.S. durable goods dropped broadly in December, led by a sharp fall in transportation equipment, signaling some persistent weakness in the manufacturing sector, government data released Tuesday showed.
New orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell 3.4% from November to $230.5 billion, the fourth decline in five months, the Commerce Department said.
The department revised November's decrease to 2.1% from the prior estimate of 0.7%.
In December, excluding the volatile transportation sector, new durable goods orders fell 0.8%. Excluding defense, they were down 3.2%.
Almost all durable goods orders declined, except for motor vehicles and parts (+2.7%), electrical equipment and appliances (+1.2%) and fabricated metal products (+1.0%).
Transportation equipment orders fell for the fourth time in five months, by 9.2%.
New orders for capital goods, an indication of business investment, dropped 2.6%.
Year-over-year, durable goods orders ended 2014 with a 6.2% gain.
Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, noted that stripping away the highly volatile aircraft and defense components, durable goods orders edged higher in December.
"However, core capex orders were weak again. While they are also quite volatile, the weakness in the last couple of months is somewhat concerning," he said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015