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Durable Goods Orders Rise on Transportation

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Durable goods orders increased in September on transportation equipment, the U.S. Commerce Department said today.

Orders rose 1.9 percent to $237.1 billion, the department said in a monthly report. That was up from an adjusted $232.7 billion the month before.

September marked the fifth consecutive monthly increase as makers of durable goods have recovered from plant shutdowns earlier this year stemming from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The transportation equipment category posted a gain of 4.1 percent to $76.8 billion in September. The sector has had increases four of the five past months.

Within transportation, orders for motorized vehicles and parts rose 1.5 percent to $62.4 billion. Orders for commercial aircraft totaled $1.8 billion after having been in negative territory in previous months due to canceled orders. Defense aircraft orders slid 46 percent to $2.14 billion.

The auto industry resumed production in May following COVID-19 factory shutdowns. Demand hasn’t reached pre-pandemic levels but automakers have worked at relatively stable levels.

Aerospace has been more volatile. Demand for commercial airline flights remains down because of COVID-19. Forecasts vary concerning when that will change.

Excluding transportation, durable goods orders gained 0.8 percent in September. Excluding defense, orders increased 3.4 percent.

Among other durable goods categories, orders for primary metals gained 4 percent to $19.3 billion. Orders for fabricated metal products rose 1.2 percent to $30.8 billion. Orders for machinery declined 0.3 percent to $31.2 billion.

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

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