Durable goods orders up third straight month

Economic NewsBy Greg Robb
MarketWatch

WASHINGTON – A large increase in aircraft bookings during June drove orders for new U.S.-made durable goods up by 4.2 percent, the third straight large monthly gain, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The increase was larger than expected. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had been looking for a 2.3 percent gain in durable-goods orders last month.

Adding to the sense of strength in the report, orders for durable goods were revised up to a 5.2 percent gain in May from the 3.7 percent rise previously reported. Orders rose 3.6 percent in April.

June’s strong gains in durable-goods orders, which are expensive manufactured goods designed to last three years or more, is consistent with other evidence pointing to a revival of manufacturing output after soft conditions in the first half.

Shipments of durable goods were flat in June after a 1.3 percent increase in May.

Unfilled orders rose 2.1 percent. That’s the biggest gain since December 2007 and a sign that production may increase in the second half of the year.

While the increase in durable-goods orders for June was concentrated in transportation, gains were seen as well in most other industrial sectors, including machinery and fabricated metals. Orders for electronics, electrical equipment, and primary metals fell, however.