Manufactured Durables Orders Drop For Second Month

In still another sign that the U.S. economy is slowing from the heady 5.3% annual rate of growth in the first quarter of this year, new orders for manufactured durable goods fell three-tenths of a percentage point in May to $208.7 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on June 23.

It was the second consecutive monthly decline. In April, new orders for durable goods -- autos, airplanes, appliances and other generally big-ticket items designed to last at least three years -- fell 4.7%.

Economists generally had expected new orders for durables would rise half a point in May.

Orders for transportation equipment had the biggest decrease in May. They were down 2.6% from April to $58.6 billion. Within the transport sector, the drag was new orders for nondefense aircraft and parts. They were down 17.6% to $10.7 billion.

Excluding transportation equipment, new orders for durables were up seven-tenths of a percent in May, confirming the mixed pattern of slower growth within the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy.

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