Orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods were unchanged in August, hitting a plateau after rising in July, according to data released Wednesday by the Commerce Department.
Total new orders for manufactured goods totaled $226.9 billion, barely changed after having risen 3.6% July. Analysts had forecast a decrease of 1.9% for August.
However, excluding transportation, an important but volatile component, orders fell 0.4%. Defense orders for capital goods, meanwhile, rose $2.3 billion, or about 23.6%, to $11.9 billion.
According to Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics, the August results were significantly boosted by the Air Force's recent order of 19 new tanker aircraft from Boeing, which helped offset a decline in civilian aircraft orders.
Shepherdson also said, however, that the figures showed a third consecutive gain in core capital equipment expenditures, excluding defense items and aircraft.
"The key factor driving the turnaround is the rebound in activity in the oil sector," he said, adding that another business survey indicate gains in capital spending by non-oil sectors.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016