Durable goods slide 2%
WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods fell by the largest amount in six months, led by a large decrease in orders for defense aircraft and parts. A closely watched category that tracks business investment ticked up 0.1%.
Orders for durable goods fell 2% last month, the biggest decline since May, the Commerce Department said Monday. Orders have fallen in two of the past three months. October’s number was revised down to 0.2% from a 0.6% gain.
Transportation equipment orders fell 5.9%, its biggest decline since May. Excluding transportation, new orders were flat.
Most analysts had expected a rebound in overall orders of more than 1% for November, likely forecasting a bounce due to the end of a workers strike at General Motors. The strike lasted 40 days over two months and dragged down durable goods orders in September and October.
Orders for motor vehicles and parts did rebound, up 1.9%, but it wasn’t enough to offset the large decrease in defense aircraft orders.
Excluding defense, new orders were up 0.8%.
Orders for defense aircraft and parts fell 72.7% and are down 14% the past year.
Demand for commercial aircraft and parts fell 1.8% last month and is down 38% this year. Boeing had already suspended production of the 737 Max after two crashes that killed 346 people, then said last week it would halt Max production in January as it has become increasingly clear that the company still has numerous regulatory hurdles to clear.