U.S. durable goods orders rose in Fe­bru­ary

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS -

Greater de­mand for com­mer­cial air­craft helped U.S. busi­nesses in­crease their orders for long-last­ing man­u­fac­tured goods in Fe­bru­ary, but a key cat­e­gory that tracks busi­ness in­vest­ment plans slipped slightly.

The Com­merce De­part­ment said Fri­day that orders for durable goods rose 1.7 per­cent in Fe­bru­ary and an up­wardly re­vised 2.3 per­cent in Jan­uary. Orders so far this year are run­ning 1.6 per­cent higher than in the first two months of 2016.

The growth in­di­cates that man­u­fac­tur­ers are steadily re­cov­er­ing from a rough patch that be­gan in 2015 when lower en­ergy prices and slower eco­nomic growth world­wide cut into de­mand for U.S. fac­tory goods. The re­port con­tained some weak­ness in a few sec­tors such as mo­tor ve­hi­cles, but it is among sev­eral in­di­ca­tors that point to an on­go­ing re­bound.

“Man­u­fac­tur­ing sur­veys ap­pear to prom­ise much stronger num­bers, so we’re hop­ing for bet­ter news ahead,” said Ian Shep­herd­son, chief econ­o­mist at Pan­theon Macroe­co­nomics.

To­day’s re­port echoes the re­cent strength of the sur­veys in sug­gest­ing that ... busi­ness equip­ment in­vest­ment has con­tin­ued to re­bound in the first quar­ter.

Orders for com­mer­cial air­craft saw a 47.6 per­cent jump in Fe­bru­ary.

Orders also rose for pri­mary me­tals. But de­mand for mo­tor ve­hi­cles slumped.

Orders in a cat­e­gory that re­flects busi­ness in­vest­ment plans — and

The growth in­di­cates that man­u­fac­tur­ers are steadily re­cov­er­ing from a rough patch that be­gan in 2015 when lower en­ergy prices and slower eco­nomic growth world­wide cut into de­mand for U.S. fac­tory goods.

ex­cludes air­craft and mil­i­tary goods — fell 0.1 per­cent last month af­ter a mod­est gain in Jan­uary.

But that cat­e­gory re­mains stronger this year than dur­ing the open­ing months of last year.

Other re­ports in­di­cate that man­u­fac­tur­ing is on an up­swing.

The Fed­eral Re­serve has said that U.S. fac­tory out­put im­proved for the sixth con­sec­u­tive month in Fe­bru­ary, ris­ing a sea­son­ally ad­justed 0.5 per­cent from Jan­uary.

And sep­a­rately, the In­sti­tute for Sup­ply Man­age­ment said that fac­tory ac­tiv­ity im­proved at the strong­est pace in more than two years. Its man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dex reached 57.7 last month, the best read­ing since Oc­to­ber 2014. Any read­ing above 50 sig­nals growth.

Durable goods are items in­tended to last at least three years such as house­hold ap­pli­ances, com­put­ers and in­dus­trial ma­chin­ery.

GENE J. PUSKAR / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Fed­eral Re­serve has said that U.S. fac­tory out­put im­proved for the sixth con­sec­u­tive month in Fe­bru­ary, ris­ing a sea­son­ally ad­justed 0.5 per­cent from Jan­uary.

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