Orders for big-ticket manufactured goods fell for the first time in five months in February amid a slump in business for civilian aircraft manufacturers, U.S. government data said Thursday.
The Commerce Department said durable goods orders fell 2.2 percent last month, more than expected and a sharp turnaround from the 1.6% increase seen in January.
The decline was driven by a shortfall in transportation equipment, which dropped 5.6%, and much of that was caused by a 30.4% decline in nondefense aircraft and parts, such as Boeing's jets, the data said.
Orders for motor vehicles and parts, whose manufacturers have struggled to obtain scarce semiconductors, fell 0.5% .
"One month doesn't make a trend, but surprisingly broad-based weakness across the other categories suggests U.S. businesses proceeded more cautiously," Oren Klachkin of Oxford Economics said.
However, growth was seen in orders for defense aircraft and parts, which shot up 60.1%, as well as computers and related products, which gained 4.4% .
The overall losses would have been worse at 2.7 percent without the defense sector. With the transportation sector excluded, orders fell just 0.6% last month.
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