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Durable Goods Orders Fall on Aircraft

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Durable goods orders in October slipped, paced by declines in orders for aircraft, the U.S. Commerce Department reported today.

Orders fell 0.5 percent to $260.1 billion, according to a monthly report. It was the second consecutive monthly decrease.

Excluding transportation equipment, orders rose 0.5 percent. Excluding defense, new orders gained 0.8 percent.

The overall transportation equipment category slid 2.6 percent to $75.3 billion. It was the third monthly decline in the last four months.

Within transportation, orders for commercial aircraft and parts fell 14.5 percent to $8.85 billion. Orders for defense aircraft and parts declined 22 percent to $4.7 billion.

Aerospace generally is recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which slashed demand for air travel and resulted in canceled aircraft orders. Boeing Co. has been able to return the 737 Max to service following two fatal crashes that revealed problems with the aircraft. Still, orders have varied month to month.

The one bright spot in transportation was motor vehicles and parts, which posted a 4.8 percent monthly gain to $52.8 billion. Demand for pickups and SUVs remains high even as a computer chip shortage has restricted production.

Among other categories, orders for primary metals rose 1.7 percent to $24.6 billion; orders for fabricated metal products increased 0.4 percent to $36.9 billion; and orders for machinery fell 0.9 percent to $38.3 billion.

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

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