Orders for big-ticket items in the United States decreased in August at a slightly lower rate than expected, the Commerce Department said on Sept. 24
New orders for manufactured durable goods -- items such as planes, cars, refrigerators and computers -- fell 1.3% to $191.2 billion, the third drop in four months.
Transportation equipment, also down three of the last four months, had the largest decrease of 10.3% to $46.6 billion, due mostly a drop in orders for aircraft parts.
"While total new orders fell by 1.3% they remain 15% above year-ago levels, albeit a comparison to a very weak period. And excluding the volatile transportation component, orders increased by 2% and remain nearly 15% above 2009 levels," said Cliff Waldman, Economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI.
"New orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a proxy for business equipment spending, continued on its recent volatile path but was 17% above year-ago levels, an indicator that there is just enough business confidence about the flow of U.S. and global demand to allow capital spending to sustain a moderate recovery after a deep downturn," he added. "Industry breakdowns were clearer and more encouraging than the aggregate data with key supply chain industries such as primary and fabricated metals as well as machinery registering positive monthly and annual gains," he added.
"Uncertainty pervades the U.S. and global outlooks with the much troubled U.S. housing and labor markets showing stability, at best, in recent weeks and global concerns being raised by weak and vacillating data from the U.S. and the Eurozone-key export markets for major developing economies. While the U.S. factory sector has benefitted from a sweeping inventory turn and moderate-to-strong export demand it will be adversely affected if U.S. and global growth slow or stall," he added.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010