Orders for U.S.-manufactured durable goods (items meant to last at least three years) jumped in August by $11.1 billion (4.5 percent) to $259.6 billion, according to new data from the Census Bureau. That was more than double the gain economists anticipated and the July figure was revised slightly higher. Most of the headline strength was due to large rebounds in aircraft orders and military bookings. However, “core” durable goods orders, which exclude the volatile transportation component, lifted by just 0.1 percent in August, well below the 0.5 percent forecast and the smallest monthly increase since January.
Further, orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, i.e. core capital expenditures, an important proxy for U.S. business investment, tumbled by 0.5 percent in August. That was significantly worse than the 0.4 percent gain economists expected and the first monthly decline since March. Although far from a terrible report, the latest durable goods data was weak enough to cause the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to lower its third quarter U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast to 3.8 percent. That would be a slowdown from Q2’s 4.2 percent increase but still consistent with the recent seasonal pattern.
Sources: Econoday, U.S. Census Bureau, FRBA, FRBSL
Post author: Charles Couch