Data released August 26 by the Commerce Department shows that new orders of manufactured durable goods grew by 11.2% in July, an increase of $23.2 billion from June orders.
July marked a total of $230.7 billion in new orders, which have climbed each month since April, but still remain below pre-pandemic figures. The February market for manufactured durable goods was $497.4 billion.
The increase was largely driven by transportation equipment, especially motor vehicles and defense aircraft. New orders of transportation equipment increased by $19.6 billion or 35.6% last month, sustaining its own 3-month streak. New orders for motor vehicles and parts, specifically, grew by 21.9%.
Defense aircraft and parts surged 77.1% and marked $4.6 billion in new orders July, but commercial aircraft manufacturing continued to struggle: the Commerce Department’s data showed new orders of nondefense aircraft and parts falling by $5.8 billion in July as airliners cancelled orders for new jets.
Outside of transportation equipment, durable goods orders still grew, but less dramatically: excluding orders for cars, trucks, and aircraft, new orders grew by 2.4%. The role of defense spending played a similar role: Excluding defense spending, new durable goods orders grew by 9.9%.
Shipments of durable goods likewise also increased for a third straight month. They rose 7.3% to $244 billion, following a steeper 15.2% increase in June. Shipments of transportation equipment again drove the surge as it rose 17.8% to $83.2 billion.
Inventories of durable goods fell $1.9 billion or 0.5% to $422.6 billion following a similar decrease in June of 0.1%.
Nondefense capital goods climbed 10.2% to $58.0 billion, and shipments increased 2.0% to $67.6 billion. Defense orders for capital goods jumped 30.0% to $14.0 billion.