As aircraft orders shrank nearly a third from March, new orders for manufactured durable goods fell in April the Commerce department reported on May 25.
Orders for durable goods -- big-ticket items such as planes, computers and autos that are expected to last at least three years -- dropped 3.6% from March.
In April, orders for commercial aircraft plunged 30% from March, while defense aircraft orders fell 8.9%.
Excluding transportation, new orders were down 1.5% from March. Excluding defense, they were 3.6% lower.
"The unequivocally negative report on the demand for long-lasting manufactured goods in April corroborates other recent evidence that the U.S. economic expansion continues to struggle," said Cliff Waldman, Economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI.
"Key supply chain sectors including primary metals, fabricated metals, and machinery all experienced contractions in demand," he added. "Of importance for the broad economy, new orders for non-defense capital goods expenditures excluding aircraft, a proxy for business equipment spending, declined by 2.6%. Year-to-date comparisons for these key components of durable goods demand do remain distinctly positive. But the April durable goods report, along with evidence of a U.S. economy whose growth remains soft, as well as clear signs of slowing in key regions of the global economy, suggest that the pace of manufacturing output growth has peaked and will moderate amidst uncertainty in the U.S. and world macroeconomic environments."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011, IndustryWeek Staff