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Durable Goods Orders Fall on Transportation

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

New orders for durable goods fell 0.2 percent in January on a decline in orders for transportation equipment, the U.S. Commerce Department said today.

Durable goods orders totaled $246.2 billion last month, down from a revised $246.6 billion in December. It was the second decline in the past three months. Orders rose 2.9 percent in December

Excluding transportation, orders gained 0.9 percent. Excluding defense, orders increased 3.6 percent.

The overall transportation category slipped 2.2 percent in January to $82 billion. It was the fourth transportation decrease in the past five months.

Within transportation, orders for motor vehicles and parts fell 0.8 percent to $58.9 billion.

Industrywide deliveries of cars and light trucks fell 1.6 percent in 2019 but still totaled above 17 million vehicles. It was the fifth consecutive year above that level. For much of the year, it had appeared sales might slip below the 17 million mark.

Forecasts call for 2020 sales to soften further. For example, the National Automobile Dealers Association in December forecast light-vehicle deliveries of 16.8 million for this year.

Another transportation category posting a monthly decline was defense aircraft and parts, down almost 20 percent to $4.7 billion. However, orders for commercial aircraft and parts surged more than four-fold to $8.5 billion last month from $1.9 billion in December.

Among other categories: Orders for primary metals rose 2.2 percent to $20.2 billion. Orders for machinery gained 2.1 percent to $32.7 billion. Orders for fabricated metal products increased 1.2 percent to $34.1 billion.

The Commerce Department report is based on a survey of about 3,100 companies.

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