US Durable Goods Orders Dive on Swing in Boeing Orders Getty Images

US Durable Goods Orders Dive on Swing in Boeing Orders

WASHINGTON - US durable goods orders were dragged down by volatile aircraft orders in August after an extra-strong July, but the overall growth trend remained strong, data showed Thursday.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in August dropped 18.2% to $245.4 billion, the Commerce Department said.

But that came after July's spectacular 22.5% jump as Boeing's (IW US 500/13) order book quadrupled from June.

If transportation is stripped out, new orders for durable goods -- manufactured products expected to last at least several years -- rose 0.7% in August.

For August, transportation equipment orders dove 42.0% to $76.8 billion.

Civilian aircraft sank 74.3%, motor vehicles fell 6.4% and defense aircraft slipped 0.6%.

Analysts had expected that durable goods orders would slump after July's outsized increase, though by a more modest 16.3%. Orders ex-transportation matched expectations.

"Ignore the Boeing-shredded headline; core is solid," said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics.

"What matters is the trend, and orders in the three months to August rose at a huge 17.2 percent annualized rate compared to the previous three months, and the year-over-year rate is 7.5 percent."

Moody's Analytics analyst Kyle Hillman said that the August durable goods data pointed to continued job growth in the manufacturing sector.

"Manufacturers have added to payrolls every month this year, and fundamentals favor additional investment and hiring in the coming months."

The encouraging manufacturing data came as the Labor Department reported weekly claims for unemployment insurance benefits increased by 12,000 to 293,000.

But the trend in claims -- a sign of the pace of layoffs -- continued to improve modestly. The four-week moving average of claims fell by 1,250 to 298,500; a year ago, the average stood at 317,250.

Jennifer Lee at BMO Economics said the data was "evidence that US employers continue to hire."

In August the US unemployment rate dipped to 6.1%, but job growth disappointed with only a net 142,000 jobs added, breaking a six-month streak of gains above 200,000.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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