Orders for durable goods rose in March, getting a lift from a surge in orders for commercial aircraft and parts, the US Commerce Department said today.
Orders totaled $254.9 billion, a 2.6% increase from an adjusted $248.6 billion in February, according to a monthly report. It was the fourth rise in the past five months.
March saw the overall transportation equipment category advance 7.6% to $91.4 billion.
Within transportation, commercial aircraft and parts orders soared 44.5% to almost $21 billion. Orders for defense aircraft and parts slid 9.4% to $3.06 billion.
Motorized vehicle and parts orders, also part of transportation, held steady, rising 0.1% to $57.7 billion.
Over the past year, commercial aircraft orders have had a big influence on how the overall durable goods results.
When the sector has a good month, it lifts durable goods into positive territory. When commercial aircraft has an off month, it drags down durable goods orders. The motorized vehicle sector has been mostly steady during that time.
Excluding transportation, orders were almost unchanged. Excluding defense, orders rose 2.8%.
Among other categories, orders for primary metals rose 1.4% to $22.1 billion. Orders for fabricated metal products advanced 0.1% to $34.4 billion. Orders for machinery fell 1.7% to $32.6.