A Virgin airplane soars through the sky Jordan Mansfield, Getty Images

US Durable Goods Orders Strengthen in April

Aircraft accounts for the bulk of a 3.4% rise in new durable goods orders, with cars and computers helping out. Through the first four months of 2016, though, the figure is up just 0.8% from last year.

The manufacturing sector showed more pep in April with a 3.4% surge in orders for durable goods like cars, aircraft, and electronics, according the new monthly report released Thursday by the Commerce Department.

But with American manufacturers battling a downturn in global markets and the strong dollar’s negative impact on exports, the sector continues to run at a pace barely faster than last year. Total durable goods orders rose to $235.9 billion in April, compared to $228.3 billion the previous month.

A 65% jump in the often volatile total for aircraft orders, mainly at giant Boeing, accounted for the lion’s share of the gain.

Also showing strength: orders for automobiles and computers.

Nevertheless, total orders for the first four months of the year were up just 0.8% from a year ago, underscoring the inability of the American manufacturing sector to add much force to overall economic growth.

“Through the volatility, the data still look fairly sluggish,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016

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